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US (TX): Grapefruit growers optimistic on volume

Barring inclement cold weather that could affect fruit on the trees, Texas’ grapefruit growers are anticipating a season with good volume.

“I think volume is a little above what’s normal,” said Donald Thompson, owner of Thompson Rio Pride. “It looks like I’ll have a little less than normal, but the majority of growers look like they’ll have good crops.” Thompson cited problems with getting water to his groves as one of the causes for the dip in production Rio Pride has had this season, but he explained that if the weather holds, the state’s growers could be in for a good year.

“We haven’t had any weather complications, and the cold we have had hasn’t been bad,” said Thompson. “As long as it doesn’t get below 28 degrees, it’s not bad, and we haven’t had a big freeze, so the cold we’ve had has hardened trees, but we’ve been ready for it.” Movement of fruit has also been satisfactory.

“I think demand is good and prices are good,” said Thompson. “So movement is as well as can be expected.”

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Donald Thompson

Thompson Rio Pride

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Unified ‘optimistic’ following Q1 increases

Unified Grocers, Los Angeles-based retailer-owned cooperative, said it is optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the fiscal year following positive earnings on increased sales for the first quarter.


Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.

“It’s only one quarter, but I am very optimistic about the direction we are going,” Bob Ling, president and chief executive officer, said “The growth of our sales activity actually began in the second half of fiscal 2013, and we have a number of key initiatives that will help us continue to build our sales momentum and achieve our long-term objective of growing the business profitably.

“We continue to be diligent about expense control; we are working hard to increase the overall efficiency of our distribution network; and we are focused on delivering the best possible customer service to our members.”

Read more: Unified launches Hispanic marketing events

Net income for the 13-week quarter, which ended Dec. 28, was $ 2.8 million, compared with a loss of $ 87,000 a year earlier, though patronage dividends declined 5.8% to $ 2.4 million. Sales for the quarter rose 0.9% to $ 954.7 million, and gross billings increased 2.7% to $ 979.2 million.

According to Ling, “These significantly improved results, especially the growth in sales and earnings, are a validation of the actions we took last year to turn the business around.”

A company spokesman told SN those actions included a management restructuring that encompassed Ling’s promotion and additions to and promotions within the leadership team; a major refinancing that gave the company greater financial flexibility; and a warehouse consolidation that eliminated a leased facility in Fresno, Calif.

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