Supermarket Chain Wounded by Gas Price Deflation

Crude oil prices have dropped like a rock during the past year and a half. In turn, gasoline prices have also tumbled.

In Asheville, NC, for instance, gas is selling for as low as $1.54 a gallon, according to

Asheville is where Ingles Markets is headquartered. The company has over 200 supermarkets in the southeastern U.S., and its chief financial officer says the lower gas prices have contributed to a decrease in net earnings.

The details are provided in this Feb. 8 article from Supermarket News:

Decreasing gasoline prices, along with higher labor costs, contributed to decreases in sales and net earnings during the fiscal first quarter at Ingles Markets, the company said [Feb. 8].

Although the Asheville, N.C.-based retailer sold more gasoline than a year ago, a 29% decrease in average per-gallon prices as compared with last year triggered a 1.4% decrease in sales for the quarter. Ingles totaled $951.1 million in sales for the period, which ended Dec. 27.

Excluding gasoline, Ingles’ sales increased by 2.6%, with non-fuel comp-store sales increasing by 2.3% led by a 1.7% increase in average transaction size. Grocery gross margins were flat with last year’s first quarter.

In a conference call discussing results, CFO Ronald Freeman said gasoline margins were also lower than the year-ago period, which along with higher labor expenses, contributed to a 13.7% decrease in net earnings. The company posted $13 million in quarterly net earnings, down from $15 million in the year-ago period.

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