“Today, our customers are more cautious in their spending and intensely focused on value. In 2008, food stamps, or SNAP benefits as they are called today, generated less than percent+ of our sales. Today, the SNAP segment of our business is roughly 6 percent — double what it was in 2008,” he stated.
In addressing Weis’ loyalty marketing program, the former Price Chopper executive claimed success with its “Gold Card.” Last year, the marketing effort helped generate more than $12 million in increased sales and has doubled in size to nearly 30,000 members.
“We are pleased with our results but will not rest on our laurels. As a company and as an organization, we will never settle. Our success and our future are based on the commitment of our associates. In recent years, we have asked more of our people – in return we have done a better job in meeting their needs in terms of compensation and benefits. Our commitment and promise to our associates is simple and basic: if our company does well, so will our people. This commitment will help us profitably drive sales and market share growth in a way that delivers enduring value to our shareholders,” Hepfinger said.
Before Hepfinger addressed Weis’ shareholders, vice chairman Jonathan Weis added several other key points. The youthful vice-chairman noted that “poor economy continues to have an enormous impact on our industry. Our markets were impacted by slow economic growth, high unemployment and declining household income, As a result of these continuing trends, our customers remained cautious in their spending in 2012. We understand these new realties, but are not discouraged by them.”
He recapped 2012 by illustrating Weis’ store improvement achievements: 31 total projects completed including five new stores and 18 major remodels.
“Our ultimate goal is disciplined growth – the kind that will allow us to profitably increase our market share and position us for strategic acquisition opportunities as some of our competitors shed stores and others exit our markets,” Weis told shareholders. “Today, we remain a company with a durable market presence that is determined to grow. We are enormously proud of the men and women of Weis Markets who have been instrumental in our success. Quite simply, their success is our success – we are truly grateful for their support and look forward to another strong year in 2013.”