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Ingles Posts Q4 Gains

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Ingles Markets here on Monday said its fourth-quarter comparable-store sales rose about 1.3%, adjusted for the extra week in the preceding year and excluding gasoline.

Net income for the recent 13-week quarter, which ended Sept. 28, rose 17.2%, to $15.6 million, vs. the 14-week quarter of a year ago. Sales for the quarter were $948.9 million, vs. $993.9 million in the year-ago quarter, including the extra week.

“We've had a traffic increase but a pretty flat basket overall,” said Ronald B. Freeman, chief financial officer, in a conference call with analysts.


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Adjusting for the difference in weeks, gallons of gasoline sold increased while the average price per gallon dropped slightly, he added.

Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 22.2% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, vs. 22.1% in the year-ago quarter.

Asked by an analyst about the impact of gas-price fluctuation, Freeman said it is difficult to gauge. “We began an expanded deal program during the fourth quarter that's been very successful,” he said. “So, it’s kind of changing that typical relationship between gasoline and inside the store.”

Read more: Ingles Refinancing Triggers Q3 Loss

For the full year, net income in fiscal 2013 was $20.8 million, down from $43.4 million in fiscal 2012. The recent year included a pre-tax charge of $43.1 million in the third quarter related to early extinguishment of debt. Excluding that charge, net income would have risen, Freeman said in the conference call.

Sales for the recent, 52-week year were up about 0.5%, to $3.74 billion, vs. the 53-week fiscal year in 2012.

Comparing the 52 calendar weeks of fiscal 2013 with the corresponding 52 calendar weeks of the previous year, grocery segment comps rose 1.8%, excluding gasoline sales, Freeman said. The number of customer transactions increased 1.7%, and the average transaction size was “essentially level,” excluding gasoline sales, Freeman said.

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