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Weis sees 1Q income growth, sales struggle

SUNBURY, Pa. -- Weis Markets reported that for its first quarter ended March 26, net income increased 7% to $18.6 million compared with $17.4 million for the same period in 2010.  Basic and diluted earnings per share increased 6.2% to 69 cents per share.

Weis attributed its higher earnings to an increase in store level operating income due to the increasingly efficient operation of its stores and disciplined marketing and advertising along with targeted promotional activity in key markets.

The company's first-quarter net sales declined 0.7% to $659 million from $664 million last year. According to the company, the sales decline was a result of the divestiture of 18 unprofitable SuperPetz units and two underperforming stores. Weis' first-quarter comparable store sales increased 0.6%. 

"Our current results mark our ninth consecutive quarter of strong operating results," said David Hepfinger, Weis Markets' president and CEO. "Our company achieved these results at a time of continuing consumer caution and during a period when increased wholesale inflation continues to outpace retail price inflation."

Weis Markets currently operates 162 stores in its home state of Pennsylvania and in Maryland, New York, New Jersey and West Virginia.

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