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Ingles Markets 1Q profit up, customer visits rise

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Ingles Markets said Monday that its fiscal first-quarter net income rose 9 percent as it drew more customers.

For the period ended Dec. 29, the supermarket chain earned $11.6 million, or 48 cents per share. That's up from $10.6 million, or 43 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 2 percent to $932.8 million from $918.2 million. Ingles Markets said that weekly customer visits increased 1.4 percent during the quarter, while the average amount that customers spent was nearly unchanged.

The supermarket industry has faced growing competition from big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target, as well as drugstore chains and dollar stores.

Ingles Markets Inc., based in Asheville, N.C., runs 203 supermarkets in six states in the southeastern U.S.