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Ingles_Markets-store_banner-closeup_0_0.png Ingles Markets
Ingles said grocery comparable-store sales jumped 15.2% year over year, powered by nearly 17% growth in transaction size.

Ingles Markets tallies double-digit sales growth in Q1

Net earnings triple as pandemic-fueled gains continue

Regional grocer Ingles Markets topped 10% growth in net sales and 15% in same-store sales for its fiscal 2021 first quarter, with net income tripling versus a year ago.

For the quarter ended Dec. 26, net sales came in at $1.19 billion, up 10.4% from $1.08 billion a year earlier, Asheville, N.C.-based Ingles Markets reported yesterday.

“The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in various stay-at-home measures, as well as the closing of most schools and restaurants beginning in March 2020. Many of these measures were still in place throughout the quarter ended Dec. 26, 2020,” the company stated its 10-Q report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “As a result, retail grocery sales increased substantially.”

Excluding fuel, grocery comparable-store sales jumped 15.2% year over year, with the average transaction size swelling by 16.8% despite a 4.3% decrease in the number of customer transactions.  

“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,” Ingles Markets said in the 10-Q filing.

Among product categories in the first quarter, sales in grocery (grocery, dairy and frozen food) surged 16.9% to $442.1 million. Perishables (meat, produce, deli and bakery) also posted strong sales growth, up 14.4% to $321.3 million. In nonfoods (alcohol, tobacco, pharmacy, and health and beauty aids), sales climbed 13.7% to $279.7 million. Fuel sales fell 20.6% to $110.5 million.

“Gasoline sales dollars and gallons sold were lower due to decreased demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and oversupply,” Ingles Markets reported.  

At the bottom line, first-quarter net earnings totaled $53.8 million, compared with $17.7 million in the 2019 quarter. Basic and diluted earnings per share for Class A common stock were $2.73 and $2.66, respectively, for the 2021 quarter versus 90 cents and 87 cents in the prior-year period. For Class B common stock, basic and diluted EPS were $2.48, up from 82 cents in the 2020 quarter.

Capital expenditures in the first quarter were $34.2 million, compared with $31.1 million in the year-ago period.

“We are pleased with our results, and we all continue to work hard to provide a safe and reliable shopping environment for our associates and customers,” Chairman Robert Ingle said in a statement. “We are also honored to participate in the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.” 

Ingles Markets finished the first quarter with 197 supermarkets in North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama versus 198 stores a year earlier. The food and drug retailer also operates 109 in-store pharmacies and 106 fuel centers.

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