MILWAUKEE — Roundy's Supermarkets here plans to expand its new pricing and service initiatives beyond its 14 test stores here to additional Pick 'n Save locations during the balance of the year based on "early improvements in key operating and financial metrics across those stores, which give us increased confidence," Robert A. Mariano, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told analysts here Thursday.


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Roundy's launched the program in mid-2012 at the 14 conventional stores based on merchandising, promotional and service programs at its upscale Mariano's Fresh Markets in Chicago.

Asked about competitive responses to the initiatives, Mariano said, "We have not called out the 14 locations, so it's hard for competitors to discern the efforts we have made. The customers at those stores see the differences, but an outside observer won't, and the programs are designed to impact shoppers, not necessary competitors."

Mariano also said it plans to open three more Mariano's Fresh Markets in the Chicago area, for a total of 13, by the end of the year. Though the company still expects to open five Mariano's a year, "we are increasingly confident the Chicago market can support more than 30 Mariano's stores, based on the success of the existing store base and our assessment of the overall market," he noted.

For the first quarter that ended March 30, net income rose 280% to $8.6 million as a result of the company's initial public offering during last year's first quarter; on an adjusted basis net income of $8.6 million was down 18.7%. Sales for the 13-week quarter rose 4.8% to $983.5 million — due to the benefits of two new Mariano's stores — while comparable store sales increased 1.3% due to the shift of New Year's Eve and Easter and also to a 5.2% increase in average transaction size, which was partially offset by a 3.7% decrease in the number of customer transactions. Excluding the holiday shifts, comps fell 0.8%.

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