US: Harris Teeter FY hit by Lowes buy

By Katy Askew | 2 November 2012

  •  FY profits down 9.5%
  •  Sales up 5.8%

Harris Teeter Supermarkets said that its full-year profits fell as acquisition costs and store openings weighed on the bottom line.

The company booked a 9.5% drop in full-year profits yesterday (1 November). The decline was due to Harris Teeter's acquisition of ten Charlotte-area Lowes Foods locations, the company said. The deal reduced earnings by $15m.

During the period, Harris Teeter also opened 13 stores. Capital expenditures for fiscal 2012 totalled $200m, the group revealed.

However, while investments dented profitability increased store penetration benefited sales, which rose by 5.8% to $4.5bn, the company revealed. Comparable sales were up 4% in the year, the group added.

"On a comparable store basis, we continue to experience increased unit sales compared to the prior year, and our store-brand penetration continues to improve. We believe these positive results are attributable to our continuing commitment to our customers to deliver outstanding values and excellent customer service," Thomas Dickson, chairman and CEO, said.

Harris Teeter revealed that it expects to increase its capital expenditure to $235m as it looks to drive growth in the coming year.

Show the press release

Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. Reports Fiscal 2012 Results

MATTHEWS, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 1, 2012-- Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. (NYSE:HTSI) (the "Company") today reported that sales for the 52 weeks ended October 2, 2012 increased by 5.8% to $4.54 billion from $4.29 billion in fiscal 2011. Sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 increased by 3.7% to $1.14 billion from $1.10 billion in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The increase in sales for the year and quarter was driven by an increase in comparable store sales and sales from new stores, partially offset by store closings. Comparable store sales increased by 3.97% for the year, and 3.01% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, from the respective comparable periods of fiscal 2011.

During fiscal 2012, the Company closed its previously announced purchase and sale agreement between the Company's subsidiary Harris Teeter, Inc. ("Harris Teeter") and Lowes Food Stores, Inc. ("Lowes Foods") (the "Lowes Foods Transaction"). Per the agreement Harris Teeter acquired ten Lowes Foods store locations in the central Carolinas region and Lowes Foods acquired six Harris Teeter store locations in western North Carolina. The majority of the stores acquired by Harris Teeter were temporarily closed for remodeling, stocking and training of employees. Six of the acquired stores were re-opened during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. Subsequent to the fiscal year end, two of the acquired stores were re-opened under a new format and banner - "201central." The 201central format features a worldwide variety of wine, beer, specialty foods and other selected merchandise.

During fiscal 2012, the Company opened thirteen new stores (which includes six of the stores acquired from Lowes Foods and one replacement for a store closed in the first quarter) and closed eight stores (comprised of the six stores sold to Lowes Foods, one replacement that opened in fiscal 2012 and one replacement which is expected to open in fiscal 2013). In addition, one store located in the Washington D.C. market has been temporarily closed while the Company repairs damage caused by flooding that occurred in the third quarter of fiscal 2012. The Company operated 208 stores as of the end of fiscal 2012 and retail square footage increased by 4.5% in fiscal 2012, as compared to an increase of 3.2% in fiscal 2011.

As previously disclosed, the Company sold all of its ownership interest in its wholly-owned industrial thread manufacturing company American & Efird ("A&E") on November 7, 2011. As such, A&E's results of operations and financial position are reported as discontinued operations.

Gross profit increased in fiscal 2012 by 7.0% to $1.36 billion (29.95% of sales) from $1.27 billion (29.64% of sales) in fiscal 2011. For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, gross profit increased by 6.0% to $339.8 million (29.73% of sales) from $320.5 million (29.10% of sales) in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The LIFO charge for fiscal 2012 was $3.0 million (0.07% of sales) as compared to $11.1 million (0.26% of sales) for fiscal 2011. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 the LIFO adjustment was a credit of $4.4 million (0.38% of sales) as compared to a credit of $0.2 million (0.02% of sales) in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The fiscal 2012 annual inflation rate moderated toward the end of the year, resulting in lower product cost inflation than that anticipated by the Company in its quarterly estimates.

Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses for fiscal 2012 increased from fiscal 2011 as a result of incremental store growth and its impact on associated operational costs, and $29.8 million of impairment losses and other incremental costs associated with the Lowes Foods Transaction. The increase in SG&A expenses was partially offset by gains of $3.1 million recognized from life insurance proceeds the Company recorded in the third quarter of fiscal 2012. On a percent of sales basis, SG&A expenses for fiscal 2012 increased by 76 basis points (of which 66 basis points represented the Lowes Foods Transaction incremental costs) over fiscal 2011. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, the Company recorded $7.5 million of Lowes Foods Transaction incremental costs which represented 65 basis points of the 107 basis points increase in SG&A expenses as a percent to sales from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. The Company's emphasis on cost controls and improved labor management has been effective in offsetting a portion of the increases in health and welfare costs, pension expense and other fringe benefit costs, as well as increased costs associated with the Company's store remodeling program.

Operating profit for fiscal 2012 was $171.0 million, comprised of Harris Teeter operating profit of $178.2 million ($208.0 million, or 4.59% to sales, without the Lowes Foods Transaction incremental costs) and Corporate operating losses of $7.2 million (including the $3.1 million gain on life insurance proceeds). Operating profit in fiscal 2011 was $180.7 million, comprised of Harris Teeter operating profit of $191.1 million (4.45% of sales) and Corporate operating losses of $10.4 million.

Operating profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 was $39.7 million, comprised of Harris Teeter operating profit of $42.1 million ($49.6 million, or 4.34% of sales, without the Lowes Foods Transaction incremental costs) and Corporate operating losses of $2.4 million. Operating profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 was $43.0 million, comprised of Harris Teeter operating profit of $45.0 million (4.09% of sales) and Corporate operating losses of $2.0 million.

The Company reported net earnings of $82.5 million for fiscal 2012, compared to net earnings of $91.2 million for fiscal 2011. Net earnings for fiscal 2012 were comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $99.9 million, or $2.04 per diluted share, and losses from discontinued operations of $17.4 million. The net impact of the Lowes Foods Transaction incremental costs offset by the insurance gains reduced earnings from continuing operations after tax in fiscal 2012 by $15.0 million, or $0.31 per diluted share. Earnings from continuing operations for fiscal 2012 were also favorably impacted by a reversal of accrued interest amounting to $1.3 million that was associated with a reduction of the Company's unrecognized tax positions. Net earnings for fiscal 2011 were comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $111.4 million, or $2.28 per diluted share, and losses from discontinued operations of $20.2 million. Fiscal 2011 earnings from continuing operations included a pre-tax gain of $19.5 million ($10.3 million after tax or $0.21 per diluted share) from the sale of the Company's interest in a foreign investment.

Net earnings for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 totaled $22.8 million and were comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $23.7 million, or $0.48 per diluted share and losses from discontinued operations of $0.9 million. The net impact of the Lowes Foods Transaction incremental costs reduced earnings from continuing operations after tax in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 by $4.5 million, or $0.09 per diluted share. A net loss of $8.9 million was recognized in the fourth quarter of 2011, comprised of earnings from continuing operations of $24.6 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, and losses from discontinued operations of $33.5 million.

Pre-tax losses from discontinued operations for fiscal 2012 amounted to $19.5 million, $17.4 million after tax benefits or $0.36 per diluted share. The fiscal 2012 losses from discontinued operations included $26.3 million of non-cash charges for the settlement of pension liabilities and other employee benefits in connection with the sale of A&E. The majority of these charges resulted from adjustments for the recognition of a pro-rata share of the pension plan's accumulated unrecognized net actuarial losses that was previously included in Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income and the impact from allocating existing plan assets under pension regulations and was based on actuarial calculations. The final purchase price allocation and its impact on income taxes will not be complete until the Company files its tax return in the third quarter of fiscal 2013. Additional adjustments to taxes or other costs related to the A&E sale could occur in the future.

Thomas W. Dickson, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer stated, "We are pleased with our results for fiscal 2012 and the completion of our purchase and sale transaction with Lowes Foods. As we reported, the non-cash impairment charges and additional incremental expenses we incurred in this transaction reduced the Company's operating profit by $29.8 million and decreased the operating margin by 66 basis points in fiscal 2012. Without these additional costs, our operating profit for fiscal 2012 would have increased 11.1% and our operating margin would have increased 21 basis points over fiscal 2011. Our pricing and promotional strategies continue to be effective in driving unit sales and customer visits. On a comparable store basis, we continue to experience increased unit sales compared to the prior year and our store brand penetration continues to improve. We believe these positive results are attributable to our continuing commitment to our customers to deliver outstanding values and excellent customer service."

The Company's operating performance and strong financial position provides the flexibility to continue with its store development program for new and replacement stores along with the remodeling and expansion of existing stores. Capital expenditures for fiscal 2012 totaled $200 million and are expected to total approximately $235 million for fiscal 2013. The Company continues to accelerate its new store growth. The fiscal 2013 capital plan includes 12 new stores (which includes two replacements and the two store locations acquired from Lowes Foods that were converted to our 201central format) and nine major remodels (three of which will be expanded in size). The fiscal 2013 new store openings are currently scheduled for three in the first quarter, two in the third quarter and seven in the fourth quarter. In addition, the Company anticipates re-opening the store in the Washington D.C. market that was closed to repair damage caused by flooding. The fiscal 2013 store development program is expected to result in a 5.4% increase in retail square footage, as compared to a 4.5% increase in fiscal 2012. The Company routinely evaluates its existing store operations in regards to its overall business strategy and from time to time will close or divest underperforming stores.

The Company's capital expenditure plans entail the continued expansion of its existing markets, including the Washington, D.C. metro market area which incorporates northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, southern Maryland and coastal Delaware. Real estate development by its nature is both unpredictable and subject to external factors including weather, construction schedules and costs. Any change in the amount and timing of new store development can impact the expected capital expenditures, sales and operating results.

The Company's management remains cautious in its expectations for fiscal 2013 due to the current economic environment and its impact on the Company's customers. The Company will continue to refine its merchandising strategies to respond to the changing shopping demands. The retail grocery market remains intensely competitive, and any operating improvement will be dependent on the Company's ability to increase its market share and to effectively execute the Company's strategic expansion plans.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements that involve uncertainties. A discussion of various important factors that could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements is shown in reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission and include: generally adverse economic and industry conditions; changes in the competitive environment; economic or political changes; changes in federal, state or local regulations affecting the Company; the passage of future tax legislation, or any negative regulatory or judicial position which prevails; management's ability to predict the adequacy of the Company's liquidity to meet future requirements; volatility of financial and credit markets which would affect access to capital for the Company; changes in the Company's expansion plans and their effect on store openings, closings and other investments; the ability to predict the required contributions to the Company's pension and other retirement plans; the Company's requirement to impair recorded goodwill or other long-lived assets; the cost and availability of energy and raw materials; the continued solvency of third parties on leases that the Company guarantees; the Company's ability to recruit, train and retain effective employees; changes in labor and employer benefits costs, such as increased health care and other insurance costs; the Company's ability to successfully integrate the operations of acquired businesses; the extent and speed of successful execution of strategic initiatives; and, unexpected outcomes of any legal proceedings arising in the normal course of business. Other factors not identified above could cause actual results to differ materially from those included, contemplated or implied by the forward-looking statements made in this news release.

Harris Teeter Supermarkets, Inc. operates a leading regional supermarket chain in eight states primarily in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic United States, and the District of Columbia. 

Original source: Harris Teeter Supermarkets

Sectors: Financials, Retail

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