The Weis family is wise to the ways of grocery retailing. Weis (pronounced "Wise") Markets runs more than 160 grocery stores (averaging about 49,000 sq. ft.), mostly in Pennsylvania, but also in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia, as well as a single Save-A-Lot discount store in Pennsylvania. (In recent years, the company has converted its Mr. Z's Food Mart, King's Supermarkets, and Cressler's Marketplace stores to the Weis Markets banner to go to market under a unified retail presence.) The founding Weis family controls the company.
The company operates 163 retail food stores in Pennsylvania and four surrounding states: Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia.
The grocery chain operates its business through a single segment: grocery retail.
Altogether, Weis Markets operates more than 160 retail stores in a handful of states, supported by Pennsylvania-based distribution centers, an ice cream plant, meat processing plant, milk processing facility, and warehouse complex.
The company's retail food stores sell groceries, dairy products, frozen foods, meats, seafood, fresh produce, floral, pharmacy services, deli products, prepared foods, bakery products, beer and wine, fuel and general merchandise items, such as health and beauty care and household products.
Center Store sales generated about 58% of Weis Market's total 2014 revenues; the rest comes from Fresh Food sales (29%), Pharmacy Services (9%), and Fuel (4%).
Sales and Marketing
The regional grocery company advertises its products and brands through weekly newspaper circulars, radio and TV ads, e-mail, and online via its website, social media, and mobile applications. Weis Markets spent $24.6 million on advertising in 2014, compared with $23.5 million in 2013 and 2012.
The company has seen steady revenue growth over the past few years. In 2014 its revenues increased by 3% due to higher store sales. Comparable fresh food sales grew by 3% driven by meat (thanks to the the “Great Meals Start Here” promotional program); and seafood, deli and food service. Pharmacy sales increased by 8.5% due to the conversion of brand drugs to generics which prompted greater volume sales.
Net income decreased by 23% in 2014 (its second year of decline) due to higher operating, general, and administrative expenses, and a decline in investment income as a result of fewer sales of equity securities and a decrease in Weis Markets' SERP investment.
Operating cash flow decreased by 14% to $19 million in 2014 due to decline in cash generated from inventories and Income taxes payable.
Century-old Weis Markets continues to remake itself by investing in new superstore construction, expanding and remodeling established stores, and acquiring new ones. The strategy includes developing improved customer service training and setting customer service measurements and goals and ramping up its information technology systems and distribution network.
It's also adding new services, such as online shopping, and an in-store beer garden. In 2015 the company began offering online shopping with in-store pick-up at its Camp Hill Store.
In 2014 Weis Markets opened an in-store beer café in its Roosevelt Boulevard store in York, and its Selinsgrove, and Doylestown stores. The company also opened new Flanders store.
It acquired three of the Genuardi's Family Markets' stores in the Philadelphia area from grocery-giant Safeway in 2012. The stores reopened under the Weis banner.
Once a more diverse retailer, the company sold the last of its SuperPetz pet supply warehouse stores in 2011.
To spur sales, Weis instituted periodic "Price Freeze" events in 2009. The events freeze and lower prices on thousands of staple items.
Weis Markets was founded in 1912.