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Ingles_Markets_storefront_0_0.jpg Ingles Markets
Ingles Markets Chairman Robert Ingle said the strong sales performance came amid supply disruptions caused by the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Ingles Markets sees nearly 17% sales gain in Q1

Regional grocer's comparable-store sales climb by 10%

Ingles Markets got off to a promising start in fiscal 2022 with robust first-quarter sales and earnings growth.

For the quarter ended Dec. 25, net sales totaled $1.39 billion, up 16.9% from $1.19 billion a year earlier, Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles Markets reported Thursday. The gain easily bested upticks of 11.6% in the previous quarter and 10.4% in the 2021 first quarter and built on elevated grocery sales since the onset of COVID-19.

Excluding fuel sales, overall grocery comparable-store sales surged by 10% year over year for the 2022 first quarter, according to Ingles Market's 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Customer transactions grew 7.3%, with the average transaction size rising 3.4%. In the filing, the regional grocer said the pandemic has continued to drive more meals being consumed at home, in part due to school closures, and customers scaling back on dining out. Food and gasoline inflation also lifted dollar sales, the company stated. The 2022 first-quarter comp-sales results built on a 15.2% gain in the prior-year period.

“We were fortunate to have good sales and overall results for the quarter that includes Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Ingles Markets Chairman Robert Ingle said in a statement. “Despite supply chain disruptions from the Omicron variant, our associates did an excellent job of meeting customer needs under difficult circumstances.”

Gross profit in the first quarter came in at $350.5 million, or 25.2% of sales, up from $314.2 million, or 26.4% of sales, in the 2021 quarter. Operating and administrative expenses rose to $260.1 million from $238.2 million a year ago, driven primarily by higher employee costs in a tight labor market, Ingles Markets said.

At the bottom line, first-quarter net income totaled $66.2 million, up 23% from $53.8 million in the 2021 quarter. Basic and diluted earnings per share for Class A common stock were $3.57 and $3.48, respectively, versus $2.73 and $2.66 in the prior-year period. For Class B common stock, basic and diluted EPS were $3.24, up from $2.48 in the 2021 quarter.

Capital spending totaled $21.3 million in the 2022 quarter, compared with $34.2 million a year earlier.

Ingles Markets finished the first quarter 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 a year ago. The food and drug retailer also currently operates 111 in-store pharmacies and 107 fuel centers.

*Editor's Note: Article updated with comparable sales information. 

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