Ruddick Corporation (NYSE:RDK) (the “Company”) today reported that sales at Harris Teeter for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 ended January 1, 2012 increased by 8.5% to $1.12 billion from $1.03 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2011. The increase in sales was driven by an increase in comparable store sales of 5.33% and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings. During the first quarter of fiscal 2012, Harris Teeter opened three new stores and closed one store. Since the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2011, Harris Teeter has opened seven new stores, one replacement store and closed three stores, for a net addition of five stores. Harris Teeter operated 206 stores as of the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012.
As previously disclosed, the Company sold all of its ownership interest in its wholly-owned industrial thread manufacturing company American & Efird, Inc. (“A&E”) on November 7, 2011. As such, A&E’s results of operations and financial position are reported as discontinued operations.
The Company reported net earnings of $13.7 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to net earnings of $38.1 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $25.8 million, or $0.53 per diluted share, and a loss from discontinued operations of $12.1 million. Net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2011 was comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $34.4 million, or $0.71 per diluted share, and earnings from discontinued operations of $3.7 million. As previously disclosed, earnings from continuing operations for fiscal 2011 included a pre-tax gain of $19.5 million ($10.3 million after tax or $0.21 per diluted share) from the sale of the Company’s interest in a foreign investment.
Operating profit in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 increased by 10.7% to $46.3 million from $41.8 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2011, driven primarily by improved operating profit at Harris Teeter.