CHARLOTTE — Harris Teeter drove increases in market share, shopping visits and volume amid a challenging sales environment, quarterly financial results showed.
The retailer, a division of Ruddick Corp. here, said same-store sales declined by 0.7% in the fiscal third quarter that ended June 27 despite a 5.7% overall sales increase to $1 billion. Retail price deflation driven by increased promotional activity and changing consumer spending contributed to the negative comps, Ruddick officials said.
“We continued to draw customer shopping visits and loyalty through the investments we have made in our in-store promotional activity and lower everyday prices,” Thomas W. Dickson, president and chief executive officer of Ruddick, said in a statement. “This has resulted in a greater number of customers, increased number of items sold and greater number of customer shopping visits in fiscal 2010.”
Consolidated net earnings in the quarter increased 75.1% to $28.9 million, boosted by operating profit improvements at Harris Teeter and at American & Efird, a thread company also owned by Ruddick. The company also realized tax benefits as compared with the same period a year ago. Earnings per share of 59 cents exceeded consensus analyst estimates by 5 cents.