Weis Markets is upping capital expenditures by 11% to $150 million for 2022, following a year in which the regional grocer tallied its highest-ever net sales.
Plans call for Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis Markets to continue investments in new stores, remodels, fuel centers, IT upgrades and smaller store-improvement projects, Chairman, President and CEO Jonathan Weis told shareholders last week during the annual meeting at company headquarters. In 2021, the supermarket chain budgeted $135 million for capex.
“In 2022, we plan to invest more than $150 million in our capital expenditure program,” Weis said at the meeting. “This budget includes four new stores — some of which will be completed in the coming years — one expansion, five major remodels and eight fuel centers.”
Last year, Weis Markets opened replacement stores in Gap, Bethlehem and Macungie, Pa., plus a new supermarket in Martinsburg, W.Va. The grocer said it also opened nine fuel stations and completed 13 major store remodels and more than 1,100 retail store projects aimed at improving the customer experience and driving operational efficiencies.
Most recently, the chain opened a new 63,000 square-foot store in Warminster, Pa., in January and, in February, the completion of a remodel/upgrade of its North Queen Street store in Martinsburg, W.Va. The latter included expansions of the deli, seafood, bakery, beer and wine, and center-store departments as well as increased variety throughout the store, the addition of environmentally friendly LED lighting, and enhancements to interior decor and the store’s exterior.
“The past two years have been an enormously challenging time for us, but our team has held up well and has done extraordinary things on a daily basis” Weis told shareholders. “Today, Weis associates in every part of our company are helping us feed the communities we serve and grow our business. We are proud and grateful.”
Currently, Weis Markets operates 197 stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, including Pennsylvania (117 locations), Maryland (49), Delaware (four), New Jersey (six), New York (nine), West Virginia (three) and Virginia (nine).
Weis also noted to shareholders that the company’s fiscal 2021 results built on a robust performance in 2020. The grocer saw gains of 2.7% in net sales and 1.7% in comparable-store sales for 2021, atop increases of 16.1% in net sales and 16.4% in comp-store sales for 2020.
“Our growth program, along with strong supply-chain performance, disciplined merchandising and consistent in-store conditions, helped us generate a record $4.2 billion in net sales and a 1.7% comparable-store sales increase in 2021, exceeding record results in 2020,” Weis said at the meeting. “On a two-year stacked basis, our sales increased 18.1%.”
On Monday, Weis Markets reported results for its fiscal 2022 first quarter. Net sales for the quarter ended March 26 totaled $1.1 billion, up 9.7% from nearly $1.01 billion a year earlier. Comparable-store sales grew 9.4% year over year (7.6% excluding fuel) and were up 10.8% on a two-year basis (8.7% excluding fuel). At the bottom line, the grocer posted net income of $31.4 million, or $1.17 per share, compared with $24.3 million, or 90 cents per share, in the prior-year period.
“We continued to build on our momentum in the first quarter, when we generated strong comparable store sales and net income increases. Despite significant inflationary pressures, we were able to maintain stable gross profit margins and effectively manage expenses,” Weis stated. “These results reflect the hard work and dedication of associates at every level of our company. They have helped us navigate the challenges of a pandemic-impacted marketplace while generating first quarter results that exceeded last year’s performance and our current year expectations.”
*Editor's Note: Article updated with Weis Markets' Q1 results.