Sunbury, Pa. Weis Markets reported its first-quarter sales increased 4.2% to $595.7 million while its same-store sales were up 3.9% compared to the same period a year ago.
For the 13-week period ending March 29, the company's net income declined to $9.1 million compared to $13.4 million in 2007.
"The first quarter was the perfect retail storm with a combination of factors significantly impacting our gross margins," Weis Markets CEO Norman Rich said in a statement. "We continue to see considerable wholesale food inflation. Food commodity prices are increasing at a faster pace than retail prices paid by our customers.
At the same time, due to an uncertain economy and the high cost of gasoline, our customers are more cautious in their spending. In addition, we continue to maintain our aggressive pricing and promotional program throughout our markets."
The company said its earnings were also impacted by increases of 35.4% in diesel fuel costs and 18.1% in higher health-insurance costs.