Fueled by a strong fourth quarter, Weis Markets totaled record sales in fiscal 2021, surpassing its previous record set amid COVID-driven consumer demand a year ago.
In the quarter ended Dec. 25, net sales climbed 8% to nearly $1.11 billion from about $1.03 billion a year earlier, Sunbury, Pa.-based Weis Markets reported. That built on a 13.7% net sales gain in the fiscal 2020 quarter.
Same-store sales rose 6.9% (4.9% excluding fuel) in the 2021 fourth quarter and were up 21% (19.8% excluding fuel) on a two-year stack. Weis Markets said that comparable sales growth in the quarter also advanced sequentially, up from a 4.6% increase (19.4% over two years) in the third quarter.
Fiscal 2021 net sales came in at $4.22 billion — the highest in Weis Markets’ history — and gained 2.7% from fiscal 2020’s $4.11 billion, the second-highest total in company history, the regional grocer said. Comp-store sales for the full year edged up 1.7% (0.2% excluding fuel) from a 16.4% increase in 2020, for two-year growth of 18.1% (17.7% excluding fuel).
“We are proud and grateful for the contributions of our resilient team of associates who adapted to the challenges of supply chain disruptions, a tight labor market and inflationary pressures. Our associates effectively served our customers and delivered strong financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2021 that significantly exceeded pre-pandemic levels and our original expectations,” Chairman, President and CEO Jonathan Weis said in a statement.
“As a retailer that benefitted from our customers’ increased food-at-home consumption because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we note that the last two fiscal years of net sales and income from operations were the first- or second-highest in our company’s 110-year history,” Weis noted.
On the earnings side, Weis Markets posted 2021 fourth-quarter net income of $22.6 million, or 84 cents per share, up 16.4% from $19.4 million, or 73 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Full-year 2021 net earnings totaled $108.8 million, or $4.05 per share, down 8.5% from $118.9 million, or $4.42 per share, in fiscal 2020. The supermarket chain noted that fiscal 2021 net income was the second-highest in company history, behind only the fiscal 2020 total.
The fiscal 2021 gains will help drive Weis Markets’ expansion and ongoing store and technology upgrades, among other capital expenditures, according to Weis.
“The working capital from this positive momentum positions us well for the future to execute our long-term strategy to prudently reinvest for profitable growth,” he stated.
During 2021, Weis Markets upped its capital spending and earmarked more than $150 million toward the openings of four new and relocated stores and eight fuel centers, 13 store remodels and over 1,000 store improvement projects that sharpened operational efficiency and enhanced the customer experience.
Weis Markets closed out fiscal 2021 with 197 stores — the same as a year ago — in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia and Virginia.