Matthews-based Harris Teeter Supermarkets said Thursday that profits and sales rose at its 211 grocery stores during the first quarter.
The companys revenue rose 3.7 percent in the quarter ended Jan. 1, to $1.16 billion. Sales at stores open a year or more, considered a key measure of a retailers health, rose 2.5 percent compared with the same period last year.
Profit margins continued to be thin, a normal feature of the grocery industry, but Harris Teeters profit rose. The companys profit totaled $22.8 million, up from $13.7 million during the same period a year ago. But Harris Teeters operating profit margin sank to 3.8 percent during the quarter, down from 4.13 percent last year.
Aggressive pricing by competitors, low inflation during the period and the generally sluggish retail environment experienced during the holiday season combined to put downward pressure on our gross profit, said CEO Thomas Dickson, in a statement.
The company said it plans to continue focusing on expanding within its existing markets. Harris Teeter plans to open nine stores and finish major remodeling projects at eight other stores. Harris Teeter also said it plans to spend $219 million on capital expenditures, such as the new stores, in fiscal 2013.