Stater Bros. Markets said its net income more than doubled in the first fiscal quarter, and same-store sales grew 1.42% over year-ago levels.

Net income was $11.1 million for the quarter, which ended Dec. 29, compared with $5.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Total sales were up 1.58% for the 13-week period, to $984 million.


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“We are pleased with our sales and customer count growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2014 given the extremely competitive environment in Southern California,” said Jack Brown, chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We believe that our sales and customer-count growth is due to our 'Valued Customers' positive response to our 'Low Price' marketing strategy of keeping our prices as low as possible during these continued challenging economic times.”

He said the company has continued to sacrifice margins to keep prices low, although in the most recent quarter gross margins improved to 26.28% of sales compared with 25.88% of sales in the year-ago quarter.

“In order to continue to invest in our customers, we are constantly looking for opportunities where we can reduce our costs in areas such as improving our shrink or product loss, and improving our efficiencies at both our stores and in our distribution facility,” Brown said.

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