CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ruddick Corp., parent of the Harris Teeter chain, said yesterday that the chain's operating profit was up 6.3% in the first quarter, to $35.4 million. Sales increased by 11.2%, to $796.3 million, which the company attributed to new-store openings and a comparable-store sales increase of 3.31%. The company said operating profit as a percent of sales declined slightly, in part as a result of higher pre-opening costs.

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