Weis expands 2011 cap ex budget

SUNBURY, Pa. — Weis Markets on Thursday announced an increase of its 2011 capital expenditure budget by 7% to $110 million. The current budget includes 14 major remodels, two additions and three new/replacement stores.

The company currently is building a replacement unit near Reading, a new unit near Easton and a replacement unit near State College, all in Pennsylvania.

"We've significantly increased the pace and tempo of our growth," stated Jonathan Weis, vice chairman of Weis Markets, during the grocer’s annual shareholders meeting. "Over the past two years, we've averaged 15 major projects — triple what we were doing a couple of years ago — and our cap ex budget has increased by nearly 35% during this period. We continue to reinvest in our stores, information technology systems and human capital at an unprecedented rate."

Weis Markets president and CEO David Hepfinger also reported that the company would continue to increase its technology investments, which have totaled $25 million in recent years. "While we will continue to make major investments in our store base, our growth will be based on more than just bricks and mortar," Hepfinger said. "Effective information technology systems are essential to our growth and success. We are determined to give our associates the tools and analytics they need to better serve the needs of our business and our customers."

In related news, Weis' board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of 29 cents per share to shareholders of record as of May 9, payable on May 23.