CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Continued promotional price investments contributed to a slight decline in operating profits, while deflation negatively impacted comparable-store sales during the fiscal first quarter at Harris Teeter, the retailer said Thursday.
The chain, a division of holding company Ruddick Corp. here, reported operating profits of $42.3 million, or 3.5% of sales of $972.3 million for the quarter that ended Dec. 27. Overall sales were up by 4.7% but operating profits fell by 4.5% as compared with the same period last year, when they comprised 4.8% of sales.
The company attributed the sales increase to new stores, greater tonnage and more shopping visits, but said product price deflation and changing consumer habits contributed to a 2.4% quarterly comparable-store sales decline. The company in a statement said that a “significant portion” of its promotional budget was funded by corporate cost-saving initiatives.
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