Ingles Markets, Incorporated (NASDAQ: IMKTA) today reported an overall increase in sales of 5.2% to $918.2 million for its first fiscal quarter ended December 24, 2011. For the December 2011 quarter, net income rose to $10.6 million compared with net income of $7.7 million for the quarter ended December 2010. Commenting on the results, Robert P. Ingle, II, Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are pleased with our performance this past holiday season, leading to a good start for fiscal 2012.” Financial Results Net sales rose 5.2% to $918.2 million for the quarter ended December 24, 2011, compared with $872.8 million for the quarter ended December 25, 2010. For the comparable December 2011 and 2010 quarters and excluding gasoline sales, grocery segment comparable store sales increased 3.4%, average transaction size increased 1.3%, and weekly customer visits increased 2.0%. Gross profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 rose 4.3% to $201.7 million, an increase of $8.2 million compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 22.0% for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 compared with 22.2% for the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Grocery segment gross margins, excluding gasoline, also increased from 25.2% in the first quarter of fiscal 2011 to 25.5% for the current-year quarter. The improvement in gross margin benefitted from inflation and vendor participation in pricing promotions during the very competitive holiday season. Total operating expenses were $171.8 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 compared with $167.3 million for the comparable fiscal 2011 quarter. Operating and administrative expenses as a percentage of sales, excluding gasoline sales and associated operating expenses, improved to 21.6% from 21.8% for the three months ended December 24, 2011 and December 25, 2010, respectively. The growth in operating expenses was comprised primarily of increases in repairs and depreciation, partially offset by decreased insurance expense.