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Ingles_Markets-storefront_photo.jpg Ingles Markets
Ingles Markets' 11.6% net sales increase in the fourth quarter exceeded the pandemic-driven gain in the 2020 quarter by 30 percentage points.

Ingles Markets closes out fiscal 2021 with 8.2% sales gain

Regional grocer sees net earnings climb almost 40% for the year

Aided by a double-digit sales increase in the fourth quarter, Ingles Markets finished near the $5 billion mark for fiscal 2021 in building on last year’s COVID-fueled growth.

For the fourth quarter ended Sept. 25, net sales totaled $1.34 billion, up 11.6% from $1.2 billion in the fiscal 2020 quarter, when sales climbed 11.3%, Ingles Markets said Wednesday. The Asheville, N.C.-based regional didn’t report comparable-store sales for the period, and the company’s 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission wasn’t immediately available.

Gross profit in the quarter came in at $341.3 million, or 25.6% of sales, up from $324.5 million, or 27.1% of sales, in the 2020 quarter. Operating and administrative expenses rose to $248.9 million from $236.8 million a year ago, driven mainly by higher personnel costs to support higher sales and extra safety measures amid the pandemic, according to Ingles Markets. 

At the bottom line, fourth-quarter net income rose 24% to $71.7 million from $57.9 million a year ago. Basic and diluted earnings per share (EPS) for Class A common stock were $3.86 and $3.78, respectively, for the 2021 quarter versus $2.94 and $2.86 in the prior-year period. For Class B common stock, basic and diluted EPS were $3.51 at the quarter’s end, up from $2.67 a year earlier.

Ingles Markets noted that, as the nation works to exit the pandemic, the company cannot predict COVID-19’s impact going forward. 

“We had a successful year amidst ongoing difficulties caused by COVID-19,” Chairman Robert Ingle said in a statement. “During this past year, we are thankful for our associates who continued to provide customers with needed products and services.” 

For the 2021 fiscal year, Ingles Markets’ net sales grew 8.2% to $4.99 billion, compared with 9.7% growth to $4.61 billion in 2020. Comparable-sales data wasn’t immediately available.

Full-year gross profit totaled $1.3 billion, or 26.1% of sales, versus $1.2 billion, or 26% of sales, in 2020. Operating and administrative costs escalated to $963.3 million from $921.7 million. 

Ingles Markets said net earnings surged nearly 40% to $249.7 million in fiscal 2021 from $178.6 million in fiscal 2020. Basic and diluted EPS for Class A Common Stock were $13.06 and $12.73, respectively, up from $9.06 and $8.82 a year earlier. Class B Common Stock basic and diluted EPS were $11.87 for 2021 versus $8.24 a year ago. 

Capital expenditures ended up at $140.6 million in 2021, compared with $122.8 million in 2020. Ingles Markets said spending focused on stores opened during fiscal year and locations slated to open later on. 

Ingles Markets closed out fiscal 2021 with 198 supermarkets in six states, including 74 in North Carolina, 66 in Georgia, 35 in South Carolina, 21 in Tennessee, and one apiece in Virginia and Alabama, compared with 197 stores overall at the end of fiscal 2020. The food and drug retailer also currently operates 111 in-store pharmacies and 107 fuel centers.

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