BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- Ingles Markets here said it has reached a settlement in principle in a gender-discrimination lawsuit that resulted in a loss for the fourth quarter ended Sept. 26.
xt several weeks.
The company said payments will be made to the plaintiffs, other class members and their attorneys over a three-year period; in addition, Ingles said it has agreed to establish or enhance certain human-resource programs.
The complaint charged Ingles with discriminating against female employees by denying them equal pay, promotions and management opportunities. Despite the settlement, Ingles said it denies the material allegations in the complaint.
"After careful consideration we believe settlement of this lawsuit is in the best interest of the company," Robert P. Ingle, chairman, said. "We are glad to put this behind us and focus our attention on running our business."
Ingles said net income for the year fell 78.9% to $4.2 million, while sales rose 7.2% and comparable-store sales grew 1.1%.
For the 13-week fourth quarter, the company said, it had a loss of $5.2 million, while sales rose 10.3% and comps rose 3.8%.
The company said gross profit for the quarter increased 11.6% to 25.1%.
Ingles said it opened 11 new stores and six replacement units and completed three major renovations and 10 minor remodels during the year; during the quarter it opened three new stores -- all former Bruno's locations -- and completed one major renovation and one minor remodeling and acquired land for two future store sites.
Qtr Ended 9/26/98 9/27/97
Sales $432.9 million $392.3 million
Change + 10.3%
Comp-store + 3.8%
Net Income ($5.2 million) *$4.6 million
Inc/Share (23 cents)* 21 cents
52 Weeks 1998 1997
Sales $1.6 billion $1.5 billion
Change + 7.2%
Comp-store + 1.1%
Net Income $4.2 million* $19.9 million
Change - 78.9%
Inc/Share 19 cents* 92 cents
* Net income was affected by a one-time net charge of $9.1 million, or 41 cents per share, in the fourth quarter to settle a gender-discrimination lawsuit.