Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses, as a percentage of net sales, were 28.9% in the quarter compared to 29.2% in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. Most expenses were leveraged during the quarter. Additionally, as a percentage of net sales, lower store labor expenses were offset by higher insurance expense and higher marketing expense.
The effective income tax rate in the quarter was 36.4% as compared to 37.4% in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The decrease in the effective tax rate was due primarily to foreign tax benefits associated with the Company’s global sourcing efforts and favorable resolution of uncertain state tax positions, which were partially offset by a decrease in federal jobs tax credits.
Net income for the quarter was $80.3 million compared with net income of $80.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012.
The Company’s merchandise inventories at November 24, 2012, were $1.59 billion compared with $1.30 billion at November 26, 2011. Average inventory per store at the end of the quarter was 15.1% higher than the average inventory per store at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The increase in inventories was the result of investments to expand the Company’s consumable categories, primarily health and beauty aids and food assortments.In the quarter, capital expenditures were $196.4 million compared with $130.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. The growth in capital expenditures related to increased investments in new stores. During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, the Company repurchased approximately 0.4 million shares of its common stock for a total cost of $25.0 million. As of November 24, 2012, the Company had the authorization to purchase up to an additional $120.8 million of its common stock. Outlook “The holiday selling season proved to be more challenging than we expected as customers faced increasing financial uncertainty. Comparable stores sales for December increased about 2.5%, driven primarily by strong, double-digit sales of Consumables. Discretionary categories continued to be pressured, reflecting ongoing consumer caution,” said Levine. “Despite the ongoing economic uncertainty, we expect that the investments we have made in traffic-driving categories will continue to build sales momentum through January and February, as customers focus even more on basic needs.”