Weis Markets reports environmental impact progress

Weis Markets said it made progress on reducing its overall environmental impact last year, achieving its goal of reducing its greenhouse emissions by 20% in 2020.

The company released its 2020 Sustainability Report, where it detailed its efforts to divert food waste from landfills, reduce truck fleet fuel consumption and reduce waste in stores.

“Against the challenging backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, our associates continued to make incredible progress to operate efficiently by reducing waste and conserving energy in our stores, while also providing the necessary support to our communities when they needed it the most,” said Jonathan Weis, Weis Markets chairman and CEO. “We are making continued progress toward our sustainability goals, and we will continue to invest in our program to reduce our overall environmental impact.”

The Sunbury-based supermarket chain said it was able to divert nearly 9.4 tons of food waste from landfills by following the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recover Hierarchy.

It donated more than 1,146 tons of food to food banks, repurposed 1,360 tons of food waste as cattle feed and composted 1,212 tons of food waste.

The food waste reduction efforts increased 35% over 2019, according to the report.

The company said it also made progress in its recycling program. It recycled 1,335 tons of plastics, up 4.3% over 2019, plus 358 tons of scrap metal, up 133% over 2019. It also recycled 939 tons of plastic bags, which was 4.6% more than in 2019.

The company noted it earned the EPA’s GreenChill program recognition for outstanding refrigerant management in 11 of its stores.

It said it also made progress in the green design of its stores, reducing overall energy usage per square foot by 4% through such efforts as adding energy-efficient LED lighting.

It is also continuing to upgrade its fleet of trucks to meet more energy efficient standards, by replacing 27 of its oldest tractors with new 2021 vehicles.

COVID-19 continues to drive strong sales at Weis Markets

With people still eating at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Weis Markets is reporting that dramatically higher sales are ongoing.

The Sunbury-based grocery store chain said sales increased 23.7% to $1.1 billion during the 13-week period ending June 27 compared to the same period last year. Second quarter comparable store sales increased 24.1%

“The coronavirus pandemic has altered most aspects of daily life in our seven-state market area which was impacted by full and partial shutdowns initially, and cautious re-openings in June,” said Weis Markets Chairman and CEO Jonathan Weis. “This has resulted in customers taking an increased number of meals at home, which shifted food service demand to food retail.”

For the first six months of the year the Company’s sales increased 18.1% to $2.1 billion compared to the same period in 2019 while comparable store sales increased 18.5%.

Year-to-date net income increased 96% to $68.2 million while earnings per share for the same period increased $1.24 to $2.53 per share.

Year-to-date ecommerce sales increased 141%.

Weis credited employees with stepping up to the extra challenges of the dramatic increase in sales.

“Our dedicated associates helped us adjust to these new market conditions with accelerated replenishment schedules, strategic procurement and an ongoing commitment to ensuring a safe shopping environment. Their essential work makes this possible. We remain grateful for all that they do,” said Weis.

Weis Markets reports increase in Q1 sales driven by COVID-19 panic buying


Sunbury-based Weis Markets Inc. saw dramatically increased income for the first quarter of 2020, due to the COVID-19 related run on grocery stores in March.

The company reported sales increased 12.4 percent to $985.8 million during the 13-week period that ended March 28 as compared to the same quarter in 2019.

Net income for the first quarter increased 86.6 percent to $26.7 million compared to $14.3 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Earnings per share totaled 99 cents as compared to 53 cents per share over the same quarter last year.

“Our team quickly adapted to this changed market environment and resulting supplier disruptions by accelerating and increasing replenishment shipments to our stores and implementing a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention program in our stores, distribution, manufacturing and support facilities to provide a safe shopping and working environment,” said Weis Markets Chairman and CEO Jonathan Weis in a release.

The company noted that January and February sales, which came before the COVID-19 shopping rush, were also slightly higher because of milder weather than in January and February of last year.

Weis estimates its comparable store sales, which were up 12.8 percent, were actually an increase of 1.5 percent compared to the same period in 2019 when adjusting for the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Local companies make this year’s Fortune 500

The Fortune 500 is out and a number of companies in Central Pennsylvania and the Greater Lehigh Valley have made the cut.

Topping the list regionally was Camp Hill-based Rite Aid, which came in at No. 107, a drop from the previous year’s rank of 94. Revenue was down 8 percent over the prior year to $30.22 billion.

Next highest is Air Products and Chemicals of Trexlertown, which came in at No. 344, up from the previous year’s ranking of 345. Revenue for Air Products was $8.93 billion, up 5.8 percent over the previous year.

Hershey-based candy maker Hershey came in at No. 391, dropping from 379 the prior year. The company had revenue of $7.8 billion, up 3.7 percent.

Allentown-based PPL, which provides electrical utility and other services, dropped from 380 to No. 392 with revenue of $7.79 billion, and profits of $1.82 billion.

Utility UGI, which is headquartered in King of Prussia but services the Greater Lehigh Valley and Berks, was No. 400 with $7.65 billion in revenue

Toll Brothers, a Horsham-based luxury homebuilder with numerous communities in the region, came in at No. 482 with $7.14 billion in revenue.

Making the top 1000 from the region were Dentsply Sirona of York at 628; Penn National Gaming of Wyomissing at 676; Weis Markets of Sunbury at 683; EnerSys of Reading at 841 and Carpenter Technology, which has manufacturing in Reading, at 940.

Companies are ranked by total revenues for their respective fiscal years comparing fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2017.

For the full Fortune 500 list click HERE. The list is published by Fortune Magazine.

Weis Markets spending $109M on store upgrades

A Weis Markets store in Hampden Township, Cumberland County. (Photo: File)

Supermarket chain Weis Markets plans to invest heavily this year in store construction and remodeling projects in a bid to fuel sales.

After spending $101 million last year on upgrades, the Northumberland County-based company said last week that it will spend $109 million this year.

The capital improvement plan includes opening a new store in Bucks County, remodeling 14 stores, adding six fuel centers and making other investments in its supply chain and information technology.

Weis officials said the company is still working through local approvals for many of the remodeling projects, so a list of affected stores was not available.

“We’re reasonably certain they will be approved but do not get into specifics until we have all of our approvals,” said Dennis Curtin, a company spokesman.

That said, the company has begun to make over its store in Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County, where it plans to add a beer and wine cafe.

Weis also is in the process of replacing existing self-checkout systems throughout its store network, which spans about 200 stores in seven states across the Mid-Atlantic.

Hoping to keep pace with other retailers and compete against online giants such as Amazon, Weis has been making big investments in technology, including online ordering and delivery service.

“Our e-commerce investments helped generate a 33.2 percent increase in our online sales,” CEO Jonathan Weis said. “Today we offer online ordering with curbside pickup in 125 stores while 174 of our stores off home delivery via Shipt, a leading online delivery service.”

Weis said the company will be focusing more on online growth in the coming years.

Weis finished 2018 with a record $3.51 billion in sales, up from $3.47 billion in 2017. But the company’s annual net income fell to $62.7 million last year, down from $98.4 million in 2017.

Officials said the company’s 2017 profits were higher because of tax-related savings from the federal tax overhaul.

Shares of Weis stock are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WMK.