US grocery retailer Weis Markets has announced increased sales and earnings in 2004 and a $109.4m expansion programme for 2005.

During the year ended 25 December 2004, the company's sales increased to $2.098bn, compared with $2.042bn in 2003. Net income rose to $57.2m from $54.58m

The expansion programme announced at the same time includes the construction of eight superstores, including five replacement units, the expansion of eleven stores and the remodelling of eleven others.

"In 2004, our capital expenditures totalled $82.8 million at 3.9% of store sales, which significantly exceeds the industry average," said chairman Robert F. Weis. "We have budgeted significantly more for our growth program in 2005."

Weis said that while the company expects to start these projects in 2005, some might not be completed until 2006.

Company president and CEO Norman S. Rich said, "2004 was a year of growth and progress for our company. Despite intensifying competition and continued economic underperformance in many of our markets, our company continued to move forward. For our company and our associates, it was a busy and productive year."