stater_bros_sterling_van_i15_ca_07-08_01Stater Bros. released a report that shows more customer figures and higher sales but a lower first quarter net income in 2013. Based in San Bernardino, California, the retailer said that this first quarter net income results were lower mainly because of its low price commitment to its shoppers.

The first quarter for the company ended on December 30, 2012 and the retailer’s sales showed a 0.83% increase for the thirteen-week period. The first quarter consolidated sales of the fiscal year 2013 stood at $968.7 million whereas the same period last year stood at $96.7 million. Customer counts have risen by at least 250,000.

Sales of 25.88% was the gross profit margin figure for the 13 weeks ending December 25, while for the same period in 2011 the gross profit margin stood at 27.03% of sales.

Net income reported was $5.4 million whilst the same first quarter for the previous year was $9.0 million.

CEO and President of Staters Bros. Jack H. Brown said that the decrease in the net income figures was a result of lower margins on the gross profit for the current fiscal period compared to the previous fiscal period. The firm said that they had been trying to keep their prices low to assist consumers survive the tough economic times.

Brown further said that they made a conscious decision not to pass on to the customer all of the inflation costs that the company had experienced.

He also noted the rate of unemployment in the company’s marketing area was 10.9%, which was higher than the U.S. 7.8% average, as well as California’s 9.8% on average.

The company has deliberately tried to retain and grow customer counts during the tough economic times to ensure they retain them even after the economy turns around.

Stater Bros. runs 167 stores and is the principal privately owned retail chain in Southern California.