US grocery operator Ingles Markets saw net profit rise 10% during fiscal 2010 on the back of “record” sales.

Net profit for the year to 25 September reached US$31.7m, Ingles said, on the back of a 4.3% increase in sales to $3.39bn.

Ingles said the number of transactions increased by 8.9%, although the average transaction size fell by $1.51. The company attributed the shift to consumers eating at home more often and higher sales of private-label and lower-priced products.

Sales within Ingles’ grocery segment were up 1.7%; the division accounted for 25.5% of total sales, against 25.3% a year earlier. The company said it has responded to the current competitive environment by keeping prices as low as possible in order to grow sales and market share.

During the fourth quarter, net income grew 63% to reach $8.5m. Sales were up 3.1% to $856m.

“Sales have increased and more people than ever are shopping at Ingles. We’re very proud of that when everyone is competing for customers and the economic environment is not favourable,” said Ingles CEO Robert Ingle.

Click here for the company’s full earnings statement.