Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage continues down its path of growth, according to Co-President Kemper Isely.
With 12 leases in unidentified markets under negotiation, the company will get four signed to achieve its store-opening goal for the year, Isely said during Natural Grocers’ first quarter earnings call.
The company plans to open 12 stores—a 20 percent store increase—in fiscal 2013. It already opened three (two in Montana in Missoula and Helena, and one in Denton, Texas) and announced leases for five stores in Omaha, Neb.; Lubbock, Texas; Medford and Salem, Ore.; and Kalispell, Mont.
The new stores take the Colorado-based chain to fresh markets and “we are very happy with those openings,” Isely said.
First-quarter highlights compared with 2012 included:
- Net sales increased 28.1 percent to $95.8 million, in part because $11.3 million in sales from new stores.
- Comparable store sales increased 12.9 percent.
- Mature store sales increased 8.1 percent, quarter over quarter.
- Gross profit increased 28.9 percent above the same period in fiscal 2012 to $27.8 million. Gross profit reflects earnings after both product and occupancy costs.
- Gross margin increased 10 basis points to 29 percent.
Isely attributed margin growth in part to implementing an incentive program that emphasizes cost control, saying businesses need to keep the pace of costs lower than sales growth to be competitive retailers.
Read Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage’s complete first-quarter report here.