The increase in Harris Teeter’s operating profit described above resulted primarily from Harris Teeter’s increased sales and a continued emphasis on operational efficiencies and cost controls. The gross profit margin for Harris Teeter decreased year over year primarily as a result of the LIFO charge. As a percent to sales, the LIFO charge of $5.9 million (0.54% of sales) for the quarter and $11.2 million (0.35% of sales) for the 39 week period of fiscal 2011, exceeded the decrease in the gross profit margin between the respective periods, evidencing Harris Teeter’s ability to pass along most of the cost inflation created by increased commodity prices.
Thomas W. Dickson, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ruddick Corporation commented that, “Despite an overall environment of slower economic growth, our customers have responded positively to our promotional activity, as evidenced by increases during the quarter in the number of units sold, number of customer visits and average basket size, which resulted in a 4.37% comparable store sales increase. In addition, we continue to see a number of our customers increase their purchases of discretionary items such as premium meats and wines, specialty breads and cheese and fresh produce, including organic items. Our quarterly results benefited greatly from the operational efficiencies gained in the past two years that have offset other rising costs. Given the state of the overall economy, we remain cautious in our expectations for the remainder of the year.”
A&E sales increased by 8.4% to $86.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2011, from sales of $79.4 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2010. For the 39 weeks ended July 3, 2011, sales rose 10.7% to $241.9 million from sales of $218.4 million in the prior year 39-week period. Foreign sales accounted for 56% of A&E’s third quarter sales in fiscal 2011, as compared to 55% in the third quarter of fiscal 2010. For the 39-week periods, foreign sales accounted for 55% of A&E’s sales in fiscal 2011 and 54% in fiscal 2010.