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Sewing thread producer A&E sales rise in Q3 2007
01
Aug '08
Ruddick Corporation reported that consolidated sales for the fiscal third quarter ended June 29, 2008 increased by 9.8% to $1.01 billion from $0.92 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2007. For the 39 weeks ended June 29, 2008, consolidated sales of $2.97 billion were 10.0% above the $2.70 billion for the comparable period of fiscal 2007.

The increase in consolidated sales during the quarter was attributable to sales increases of 10.8% at Harris Teeter, the Company's supermarket subsidiary, and 0.8% at American & Efird ("A&E"), the Company's sewing thread and technical textiles subsidiary. The increase in consolidated sales for the year to date was driven by sales increases of 11.4% at Harris Teeter that were partially offset by sales declines of 2.9% at A&E.

The Company reported that consolidated net income increased 15.6% to $24.5 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2008, from $21.2 million, or $0.44 per diluted share in the prior year third quarter. For the 39 weeks ended June 29, 2008, consolidated net income increased 20.9% to $71.9 million, or $1.49 per diluted share, from $59.5 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, in the same period of fiscal 2007. The increase for both the fiscal quarter and 39-week period was driven by improved operating profit at both Harris Teeter and A&E.

Harris Teeter sales increased by 10.8% to $926.3 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2008 compared to sales of $836.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2007. For the 39 weeks ended June 29, 2008, sales rose 11.4% to $2.72 billion from $2.44 billion in the same period of fiscal 2007. The increase in sales was attributable to incremental new stores and comparable store sales increases of 1.73% for the 2008 third fiscal quarter and 3.11% for the 39-week period.

The comparable store sales gain for the third quarter of fiscal 2008 was negatively impacted by the timing of the Easter holiday and Fourth of July holiday. Both holidays were included in the third quarter of fiscal 2007, whereas in fiscal 2008, the Easter holiday was in the second quarter and the Fourth of July holiday will be in the fourth quarter.

During the first nine months of fiscal 2008, Harris Teeter opened 12 new stores, closed 2 older stores (both of which were replaced by new stores) and completed the major remodeling of 6 stores (4 of which were expanded in size). Since the third quarter of fiscal 2007, Harris Teeter has opened 19 new stores while closing 4 stores for a net addition of 15 stores. The company operated 174 stores at June 29, 2008.

Operating profit at Harris Teeter increased by 11.7% to $44.5 million (4.81% of sales) for the third quarter of fiscal 2008, from $39.9 million (4.77% of sales) in the prior year period (an improvement of 4 basis points). For the 39 weeks ended June 29, 2008, operating profit was $135.1 million (4.98% of sales), an increase of 19.0% from $113.5 million (4.66% ofsales) in the prior year period (an improvement of 32 basis points).

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