SHEBOYGAN, Wis. -- Schultz Sav-O Stores here hopes to grow "at a faster pace than we have historically," James Dickelman, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told shareholders at last week's annual meeting here.
BR> At the cornerstone of its growth efforts, he said, will be the company's marketing and advertising program "encouraging people to shop the pig" -- a reference to the company's store banner, Piggly Wiggly. Schultz operates 19 corporate stores and serves as a wholesaler to 69 franchise units, all operating under the Piggly Wiggly name.
During the meeting, Elwinn Winn, the company's newly promoted chief financial officer, disclosed financial results for the first quarter ended April 22, which showed sales up 0.5% to a record $147.7 million -- with wholesale volume up 1.5% to $85.4 million and corporate retail sales down 0.8% to $62.2 million -- and net income up 0.1% to a record $1.9 million.
He said the company plans to increase its capital budget nearly 70% this year to $5.4 million, compared with $3.2 million a year ago. Of the total, the largest portion -- $3.5 million -- will go for retail upgrades, Winn said.
He also said the franchise group plans to reduce its spending by about 17% this year to approximately $10 million, compared with approximately $12 million a year ago.
According to Dickelman, the company is scheduled to begin construction on a corporate replacement store here later this year, which will serve as the flagship of a new prototype; that store is scheduled to open in the spring of 2001.
Reflecting on the 37.4% drop in the company's stock price during 1999, Dickelman said, "It was a horrendous year for the shares of food retailing and wholesaling companies, [with] the composite of this group down nearly 38% from their 52-week highs and only one stock [Weis Markets] showing a gain."