Carolinas Roundup |

Harris Teeter parent company

sees earnings rise 20 percent

Earnings at Ruddick Corp. increased nearly 20 percent in fiscal 2008, to $96.8 million, or $2 a share, the Charlotte-based parent company of grocer Harris Teeter reported Thursday. The company earned $80.7 million last year, or $1.68 a share.

An 11 percent increase in sales at the grocery chain was responsible for most of the jump, the company said in a news release. That was partially offset by a 5.8 percent sales decline at Ruddick's other subsidiary, thread and textile company American & Efird.

Ruddick's net income grew 17.2 percent in the quarter that ended Sept. 28, to $24.8 million – up from $21.2 million.

Sales also improved in the quarter and for the year. Yearly sales were $3.99 billion, up 9.7 percent from $3.64 billion last year; quarterly sales were $1.03 billion, up 8.8 percent from $943.6 million in the same period last year.

Harris Teeter's same-store sales increased 2.9 percent for the year. However, the coming months will continue to present challenges on that front due to declining consumer confidence and changing shopping habits, the company said.

Jen Aronoff