Weis To Spend Record $135 Million For Cap-Ex; 37 Store Projects On Tap

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Weis Markets said it will invest $135 million in its 2013 capital expenditure program, an eight percent increase compared to the year prior. Company president and CEO David Hepfinger and vice chairman Jonathan Weis briefed shareholders on the plans and the company’s results at its annual shareholder meeting, held April 24 at Weis Markets’ store support center in Sunbury, PA.

“To position our company for continued growth, we have made record investments in our store base,” said Weis. “Look for more of the same in 2013 when we increase our cap ex investment to $135 million – an eight percent increase compared to 2012 – and a 33 percent increase compared to 2011.”
In 2013, the company is planning 37 major projects including four new stores, 15 major remodels and 17 remodels.

“By the end of 2013, we will have invested nearly half a billion dollars in our growth and will have completed more than 100 projects. Our cap ex program also includes record level investments in our information technology infrastructure,” added Hepfinger. “Improving our decision support and measurement capabilities are essential to our growth and future profitability.”

According to Hepfinger, supply chain and improving service are also key areas of focus, “Our organization has worked diligently to improve efficiencies throughout our supply chain — from distribution to the customer’s cart. We are also holding ourselves accountable to our customers in all that we do, which has resulted in better in-stock conditions, improved freshness and product rotation and better customer service.”

On May 6, the retailer reported its first quarter sales increased 3.2 percent to $682.7 million compared to the same period in 2012 while its comparable store sales increased 0.8 percent.

For the 13 week period ending March 30, 2013, the company’s net income increased 0.5 percent to $20.1 million compared to the same period in 2012 while its diluted earnings per share increased to $.75 per share compared to $0.74 per share for the same period a year ago.

“We continue to make forward progress in a market impacted by a poor economy that is generating minimal job growth. These have been ongoing trends in most of the markets we serve,” said Hepfinger. “Our customers were also impacted in the first quarter by a tax increase and post-holiday debt. This soft sales environment spurred increased competitive activity in most of our key markets. We were able to offset these trends through disciplined marketing and promotional programs and improved productivity and operational efficiencies at store and distributional levels.”

Hepfinger also noted that the average household income has declined 7.3 percent since 2007. As a result, unemployment remains stubbornly high. Our customers’ changed economic circumstances have clearly impacted how they shop our stores.