Gross profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 rose to $220.0 million, an increase of $17.6 million, compared with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 22.2% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 compared with 22.4% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. Grocery segment gross margins, excluding gasoline, were 26.1% for both the current-year quarter and for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.
Operating and administrative expenses for the September 2012 quarter totaled $185.2 million. Operating and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales were 18.7% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, compared with 19.0% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The largest line item increase was personnel costs related to the opening of the new 839,000 square foot distribution center in June 2012. Ingles operated 203 stores and 11.0 million square feet of store space at the end of fiscal 2012 and at the end of fiscal 2011. The Company’s store improvement capital projects this year did not result in increased square footage, but improved merchandising, convenience and the range of products offered to our customers.
Net rental income, other income and losses on asset disposals declined to $1.0 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, compared with $1.4 million for the 2011 fourth fiscal quarter, primarily due to lower net rental income and sales of waste plastic and packaging compared with the prior year.
Interest expense totaled $15.2 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, compared with $15.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. Total debt was $835.2 million at the end of fiscal 2012 compared with $855.1 million at the end of fiscal 2011.The Company’s effective tax rate was 35.5% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, compared with 33.5% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The rate increase is primarily due to a decrease in tax credits in fiscal 2012 compared with the prior fiscal year.
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