Ingles Markets off to good start

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Net sales for Ingles Markets rose 5.2% to $918.2 million for the first quarter ended Dec. 24, the retailer announced.

Comparable-store sales, excluding gasoline sales, rose 3.4%, compared with the year-ago period. Average transaction sizes and weekly customer visits also saw boosts, rising 1.3% and 2%, respectively.

Meanwhile, net income saw the biggest gain, increasing 38.5% to $10.6 million, compared with the same period last year. Additionally, basic and diluted earnings per share for the company’s publicly traded Class A common stock were 45 cents and 43 cents, respectively, compared with 33 cents and 31 cents, respectively, for the year-ago period.

Ingles Markets CEO Robert Ingle said that the past holiday season led to a good start for fiscal 2012.