Weis Markets has adapted to “new market conditions” since COVID-19 hit the United States full-force in the spring, Chairman and CEO Jonathan Weis said in reporting fiscal 2020 second-quarter results this week.
The Mid-Atlantic grocer saw net sales jump 23.7% to $1.1 billion for the 13 weeks ended June 27 from nearly $888 million a year earlier. Same-store sales climbed 24.1% year over year, while e-commerce sales through the Weis 2 Go online grocery pickup and delivery service skyrocketed 243%.
Weis Markets opened a beer and wine café at its Linglestown Road store in Linglestown, Pa., and is now building another café at its Carlisle, Pa., store on East High Street. (Photo: Weis Markets)
The surge in customer demand during the coronavirus pandemic also more than doubled Weis Markets’ second-quarter net earnings. For the period, the company posted net income of $41.5 million, or $1.54 per share, up 102.5% from $20.5 million, or 76 cents per share, a year ago.
“The coronavirus pandemic has altered most aspects of daily life in our seven-state market area, which was impacted by full and partial shutdowns initially and cautious reopenings in June. This has resulted in customers taking an increased number of meals at home, which shifted foodservice demand to food retail,” Weis said in a statement.
“Our dedicated associates helped us adjust to these new market conditions with accelerated replenishment schedules, strategic procurement and an ongoing commitment to ensuring a safe shopping environment,” he explained. “Their essential work makes this possible. We remain grateful for all that they do.”
The second-quarter sales and earnings boost hoisted results for Weis Markets’ 26-week fiscal 2020 first half. Net sales were up 18.1% to $2.08 billion from $1.76 billion in the prior-year period. Likewise, comparable-store sales grew 18.5%, and e-commerce sales rose 141%.
At the bottom line, first-half net earnings advanced 96% to $68.2 million, or $2.53 per share, from $34.8 million, or $1.29 per share, in the fiscal 2019 half.
Currently, Weis Markets operates 197 supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia, compared with 200 stores a year ago.
The Sunbury, Pa.-based regional grocer has continued to refresh its store base. In July, the company began remodels of three stores in Frederick, Md. (Old Camptown Road/Route 40, Thomas Johnson Drive and Spring Ridge Parkway), and a store in Shamokin, Pa. Upgrades, which vary by location, include new decor; an expanded pharmacies; bigger frozen departments; organic/natural product stores-within-a-store; new self-checkout lanes; and improved bakery, deli/foodservice and dairy departments.
“These projects, which we plan to complete in the fall, will be the supermarket equivalent of a complete makeover,” Ron Bonacci, vice president of advertising and marketing, stated about the Frederick stores. “When we are done, our stores will offer more variety, service and convenience.”
Both the Old Camptown Road/Route 40 and Shamokin stores are two-phase projects, with construction of six-pump fuel stations slated to begin after completion of the first phase.
“We just started our remodel and hope to complete it in the fall,” Bonacci commented about the Shamokin remodel. “We also look forward to starting work on our fuel center in 2021, which will offer greater convenience to our customers.”
In early July, Weis Markets opened a beer and wine café at its Linglestown Road store in Linglestown, Pa., and announced plans to build another café at its Carlisle, Pa., store on East High Street.
The Linglestown café sells 400 varieties of beer and 540 domestic and imported wines. construction of the Carlisle café started later in July and is expected to be finished in September.
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