Regional grocer Ingles Markets plans to pay frontline workers a third cash bonus for their extra efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ingles Markets said Friday that full- and part-time retail, distribution and corporate associates will receive bonus payments of $300 and $150, respectively, in mid-November. Associates hired on or before July 24 are eligible for the bonuses.
“Since the spring, our associates have met the daily challenge of providing what our customers need in a safe and clean environment,” Chairman Robert Ingle said in a statement. “Our associates have made a difference during this unprecedented time. We are incredibly proud of them and wish to show appreciation for their efforts,” he added.
The latest bonuses represent an investment of $5 million, mirroring the payments that Ingles made in late April and at the end of July.
In announcing the first appreciation payments in April, Ingles Markets also unveiled plans to add more than 5,000 workers to help current associates and meet extra demands brought by the COVID-19 crisis. The new positions bolstered the workforce in the chain’s supermarkets and distribution center. At the time, the company said the hirings would expand its workforce of about 27,000 employees by 19%.
Last month, Ingles Markets reported that heightened demand for groceries, spurred by the pandemic, lifted net sales 12% year over year for the third quarter ended June 27. Excluding fuel, total grocery comparable-store sales rose 23.1% versus a year earlier.
“Comparing the third quarters of fiscal years 2020 and 2019 (and excluding gasoline), the number of customer transactions decreased 10.3% and the average transaction size increased 26.6%,” Ingles Markets stated in its third-quarter 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “We believe that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers consolidated trips to our stores, resulting in a lower transaction count and a higher spend per visit.”
Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles Markets operates 197 supermarkets in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Virginia, including 109 in-store pharmacies and 106 fuel centers. The company’s grocery operations also include 1.65 million square feet of warehouse and distribution facilities as well as a milk processing and packaging plant that supplies its stores and unaffiliated customers.
For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.