INDIANAPOLIS -- Marsh Supermarkets here posted a loss for the fourth quarter of $1.4 million, compared with a loss of $1.2 million in the year-ago period.
Mark Varner, acting chief financial officer, told SN that Marsh's fourth-quarter results often include a loss or very low earnings "because with no holidays, there's not a lot to drive sales, and with snow and other weather-related costs, expenses are higher."
Sales for the 13-week period that ended April 2 increased 11.3% to $419 million, and retail comps rose 3.1%. Comparable-store merchandise sales, excluding gasoline, rose 1.8%.
For the 53-week year, net income jumped 37% to $4.2 million on a revenue increase of 5.7% to $1.7 billion. Comparable retail sales rose 1.6% overall, while comparable-store merchandise sales, which exclude gasoline, fell 0.8%, which the company attributed to "a continuing weak local economy and competitive new supermarket square footage."
Capital expenses for the year totaled $63.8 million, an increase of more than 140% over the prior year. During fiscal 2005, Marsh opened one new lifestyle store and a new LoBill Foods location, converted single units of Marsh and O'Malia to the LoBill banner and completed four remodels.
It also opened its first Arthur's Fresh Market, a 21,000-square-foot store that focuses on high-quality perishables and customer service. The company said two additional Arthur's locations are planned for fiscal 2006.
"As we move forward into 2006, we plan to differentiate ourselves from the competition with a focus on fresh -- which is extremely key -- high-quality products, superior customers services and everyday value," said Don Marsh, chairman and chief executive officer, in a conference call discussing the year-end results.