Harris Teeter Q1 sales up, grows market share

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic supermarket chain, Harris Teeter, reported that sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 increased by 3.7% to $1.16 billion from $1.12 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The increase in sales was driven by an increase in comparable-store sales of 2.53% and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the company opened three new stores, two of which were the stores acquired from Lowe’s Food Stores that were re-opened under a new format and banner - “201central”. Since the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012, the company has opened twelve new stores, opened one store that replaced a store closed in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, closed two stores and sold six stores to Lowes Foods, for a net addition of five stores. The closed stores included one that will be replaced with a new store scheduled to open in the third quarter of fiscal 2013 and one that was temporarily closed due to damage caused by flooding. The company is in the process of repairing damages to the temporarily closed store and expects to re-open it once repairs are completed. The company operated 211 stores as of Jan. 1.

Harris Teeter posted net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were $22.8 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, compared with net earnings of $13.7 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 were comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $25.8 million, or 53 cents per diluted share, and losses from discontinued operations of $12.1 million, or 25 cents per diluted share.

Thomas Dickson, chairman of the board and CEO stated, “We continue to focus on driving unit sales and growing our market share. During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, our pricing and promotional strategies were effective in this regard, as evidenced by an increase in the number of active households and number of customer visits we experienced over the prior year. However, aggressive pricing by competitors, low inflation during the period and the generally sluggish retail environment experienced during the holiday season combined to put downward pressure on our gross profit. We believe it is important to continue to drive sales and grow our market share and remain committed to our customers to deliver outstanding values and excellent customer service.”