Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. (NYSE:HTSI) (the “Company”) today reported that sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2012 ended July 1, 2012 increased by 4.6% to $1.15 billion from $1.10 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2011. For the 39 weeks ended July 1, 2012, sales increased by 6.5% to $3.39 billion from $3.18 billion for the comparable period of fiscal 2011. The increase in sales for the quarter and 39-week period was driven by an increase in comparable store sales and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings. Comparable store sales increased by 3.70% for the quarter, and 4.30% for the 39-week period ended July 1, 2012, from the respective comparable periods of fiscal 2011.
On June 1, 2012, the Company announced a purchase and sale agreement between the Company’s subsidiary Harris Teeter, Inc. (‘Harris Teeter”) and Lowes Food Stores, Inc. (“Lowes Foods”) (the “Lowes Foods Transaction”). Per the agreement Harris Teeter acquired ten Lowes Foods store locations in the central Carolinas region and Lowes Foods acquired six Harris Teeter store locations in western North Carolina. The stores acquired by Harris Teeter were closed for remodeling, stocking and training of employees. Six of the acquired stores are expected to re-open during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. Three of the acquired stores are expected to be converted to a new innovative format featuring a worldwide variety of wine, beer, specialty foods and other selected merchandise and one of the acquired stores is expected to be subleased.
During the first nine months of fiscal 2012, the Company opened six new stores (one of which was a replacement for a store closed in the first quarter) and closed eight stores (including the six stores sold to Lowes Foods and one store which is expected to be replaced with a new store opening in fiscal 2013). Since the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2011, the Company has opened seven new stores and closed nine stores (including the six stores sold to Lowes Foods) for a net reduction of two stores. In addition, one store located in the Washington D.C. market has been temporarily closed while the Company repairs damage caused by flooding. The Company operated 201 stores as of the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2012.