ASHEVILLE, N.C. --
Ingles Markets yesterday said it will probably have to raise its retail prices on produce following last month‘s freeze in the U.S. Southwest that destroyed an estimated $1 billion worth of crops. “We are seeing pressures on citrus and produce just about across the board,” said Ronald Freeman, chief financial officer, in a conference call discussing the company‘s results for the fiscal first quarter. “We will probably have to increase some prices, but so far we have absorbed some of the increases and taken lower margins.” Net income for the first quarter was up 43.7%, to $11.2 million, on a sales increase of 10%, to $685.7 million. Comparable-store sales, excluding gasoline, rose 7.4% compared with the first quarter of a year ago.