US retailer Ingles Markets has posted total net sales of US$1.56bn for the first six months of fiscal 2008 as a result of growth in all major categories.

Net sales saw an increase of $193m compared with the first half of fiscal 2007.

Gross profit for the six months ended 29 March increased 10.2%, to $365m, an increase of $33.7m compared with the first six months in the same period last year.

Excluding the effect of additional Easter sales and gasoline sales, comparable store sales increased 8.4%. Overall grocery sales were affected by rising costs during the six-month period, evidenced by year-over-year increases in the food category.

Ingles reported a 14.9% increase in sales and a 26.1% increase in pre-tax income for the second quarter to 29 March.

Robert Ingle, CEO said: “We are pleased with our sales increases. Quality, value, convenience and service are important to our customers. With gasoline and other costs going up, we want our customers to be able to get what they need with a single trip to Ingles.”

For the remainder of the fiscal year, Ingles plans to open two new stores, three remodelled stores, three replacement stores and add eight new fuel stations. Capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $200m.