Net and comparable-store sales declined at Weis Markets in the fiscal 2021 second quarter and first half as the regional grocer lapped double-digit gains a year ago fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the quarter ended June 26, net sales fell 4.7% to $1.05 billion from $1.1 billion a year earlier, Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis Markets reported after yesterday’s market close. Comp-store sales decreased 5.8% year over year but were up 18.3% on a two-year stacked basis, the retailer noted. Excluding fuel, same-store sales were down 7.7% year over year and up 18.7% over two years.
“We remain extremely proud of our associates who continue to serve our customers and effectively operate in an unprecedented business environment. Our 2021 second-quarter results, in absolute terms of sales volume and operating income, were the second-highest in our company’s history, exceeded only by our 2020 second-quarter results,” Chairman, President and CEO Jonathan Weis said in a statement. “This positive momentum enables us to make prudent reinvestments for long-term profitable growth, which benefits our associates, customers, communities and shareholders.”
In the fiscal 2020 second quarter, Weis Markets’ net sales jumped 23.7% to $1.1 billion, while comp-store sales climbed 24.1% year over year. E-commerce sales through the Weis 2 Go online grocery pickup and delivery service surged by 243%. The chain didn’t report fiscal 2021 second-quarter e-commerce sales growth.
“Our 2020 second-quarter results reflected a time when consumption of food prepared away from home was strictly limited, which resulted in record sales volume throughout the entire quarter for our essential food retailing business,” Weis noted. “During this period, our team rose to the challenge and helped us become a more efficient and nimble company.”
First-half 2021 net sales totaled $2.05 billion, dipping 1.5% from $2.08 billion a year ago. Same-store sales declined 2.4% year over year (-3.6% excluding fuel) but gained 16.1% (also +16% excluding fuel) on a two-year basis.
At the bottom line, Weis Markets posted 2021 second-quarter net earnings of nearly $33.5 million, or $1.24 per share, compared with almost $41.5 million, or $1.54 per share, in the 2020 quarter, when net income and earnings per share had more than doubled.
Year-to-date net income came in at $57.7 million, or $2.15 per share, versus $68.2 million, or $2.53 per share, in the 2020 first half. Last year’s 26-week period saw net earnings nearly double overall and on a per-share basis.
During the 2021 second quarter, Weis Markets opened replacement stores in Gap, Macungie and Bethlehem, Pa. The upgraded stores are part of a $135 million capital expenditures program announced in the spring. Investments range from new stores and remodels, new fuel centers, IT upgrades and over 1,000 smaller store-improvement projects.
Last week, the grocer said a renovation is now under way at its store in Lewisburg, Pa. The remodel includes an updated look and feel, a bigger assortment, a drive-up pharmacy and checkout lanes that can be converted to self-scan stations.
“We’ve just started our project and are looking forward to completing it in the fall,” according to Ron Bonacci, vice president of advertisng and marketing at Weis Markets. “When we’re done, our store will have new décor, expanded variety and increased convenience, particularly with our new drive-thru pharmacy.”
Overall, Weis Markets operates 197 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia, the same number of locations as a year ago.