ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The holiday season produced robust sales ad profit increases for Ingles Markets here, the company said Wednesday. Net income for the fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 27 increased 13.7% form the same period a year ago, to $12.7 million, Ingles said. Sales increased 13.3% to $777.1 million, while comparable-store sales climbed 12.8%, including gasoline, and 8.4% excluding gasoline. In a conference call discussing quarterly results, Ingles officials noted the sales boost came as a result of a 9.5% increase in store traffic, while the average sales ticket remained flat. Gross profit as a percent of sales decreased slightly to 26.2%, although the company noted it was pleased with the relative stability amid product and operating cost increases and increased competitive activity during the holiday season.
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