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Pickets protest UNFI treatment of workers

Picket lines marched outside the annual meeting of United Natural Foods Inc. Wednesday to protest alleged mistreatment of workers who have opted to join the teamsters union at a distribution facility in Moreno Valley, Calif.

The protesters “put management on notice” that continued worker abuse and intimidation will not be tolerated, according to a press release issued by the teamsters, whose members participated in the protests.

Representatives of UNFI, based in Providence, R.I.,  could not be reached for comment. The annual meeting was held in Sacramento, Calif., the home city for Tony’s Fine Foods, a specialty foods distributor UNFI acquired in May.

According to the teamstrs, UNFI has “intimidated, threatened and fired workers” at the Moreno Valley facility for trying to join a union, even though the union was federally certified in November as the union for truck drivers at the warehouse.

Steve Vairma, teamsters warehouse division director, said in a statement “UNFI runs roughshod over its employees’ fundamental freedom of association and their protected concerted activity and bargaining rights.”


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Organizing director for Teamsters Local 63 in Covina, Calif., Randy Korgan, said in a statement, “It seems that whether 35% or 65% of a group of workers at a UNFI warehouse or truck yard join together as a union, UNFI management shows them zero respect and treats them all with the same level of contempt and denial and heavy-handed tactics.” 

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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Strong sales boost UNFI in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. on Thursday said sales improved by 24.4% in the fiscal first quarter, helped along by the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods and a continuing health and wellness trend that’s getting more of the distributor’s items into more stores.

Steven Spinner“Natural and organic products were once viewed as unique and differentiated products for a narrow band of consumers and retailers,” UNFI CEO Steven Spinner said in a conference call discussing results for the quarter. “Today, our products are demanded by consumers across North America which has led to the adoption of these items across every channel.

“This rapid adoption rate has led to new opportunities for UNFI as we operate the broadest network of companies specializing in natural, organic and specialty products,” he continued. “Consumers continue to demonstrate a desire to seek a healthier, know-your-ingredients lifestyle. This results an increased shelf space across a growing number of retailers which ultimately drives demand to UNFI.”

Spinner said the company expects to build out its share in the gourmet ethnic and e-commerce channels in the coming years. The former, including Italian, Asian, Kosher and Hispanic products, is a $ 5 billion sales opportunity, Spinner said.

In e-commerce, “our goal is to offer retailers over 15,000 SKUs across gluten-free, organic, personal care, supplements, lifestyle, and other important lines,” Spinner added. “Given our proximity to the retailer and the consumer, our hope is to be the e-commerce solution for retailers and business-to-business e-commerce providers.”


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For the quarter, which ended Nov. 1, sales of $ 2 billion increased by 24.4%, or 10% when adjusted for the acquisitions of specialty suppliers Tony’s Fine Foods and Trudeau Foods. Net income increased by 19% to $ 5.3 million.

Earnings were slightly ahead of analyst consensus and driven by sales. Gross margin as a percent of sales was down 92 basis points to 16% for the quarter, negatively impacted by sales dilution resulting from the Tony’s acquisition and by increased freight costs and exchange rates impacting UNFI’s profits in Canada.

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UNFI growth prospects looking good, analysts say

United Natural Foods, Inc., is positioned for continued strong growth, especially as it expands the perishables offerings from Tony’s Fine Foods beyond the West Coast while simultaneously reducing warehouse and distribution costs, analysts said Wednesday, a day after UNFI’s annual analyst meeting.

UNFI, based in Providence, R.I., acquired Tony’s Fine Foods, West Sacramento, Calif., last May. The Tony’s offering encompasses specialty cheeses, baked goods, deli, packaged proteins, seafood and prepared foods.

Analysts said UNFI’s effort to expand Tony’s offerings is part of the company’s new “building out the store” strategy — aspiring to have the top share in each category it serves.

“This is a change from the past, where the focus was on acquiring new customers,” Karen Short, an analyst with Deutsche Bank, New York, pointed out. “There could be a significant opportunity if UNFI can convince existing customers of its natural and organic products [who purchase ethnic and gourmet products from other sources] to purchase these specialty categories from UNFI because it could lower the customers’ overall product costs [by consolidating purchases] without sacrificing service.”

The near-term strategy involves rolling out the Tony’s model to Denver; Racine, Wis., which serves Chicago; and UNFI’s Hudson Valley facility in Upstate New York, which serves New York City, with the goal of boosting the company’s 1.5% share of the ethnic/gourmet categories, Short said.

The three facilities, along with Tony’s West Coast operation, will serve as main freight consolidation points where the Tony’s merchandise can flow to the rest of the country, Short said.

According to Andrew Wolf, managing director for BB&T Capital Markets, Boston, rolling out the Tony’s products will require UNFI to secure a major new customer in each region — a process that should take one to five months, he added.

UNFI is also seeking to reduce costs, the analysts said. According to Kelly Bania, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, New York, “UNFI is well positioned to deliver operating margin upside relative to expectations as investments in technology and efficiency initiatives gain critical mass in coming years.

“Importantly, UNFI’s savings from its warehouse management system implementation could accelerate in coming years as only three of its distribution centers are currently on WMS,” Bania said. The company expects WMS to be implemented at a total of nine facilities by next October, with the system operating at all 18 facilities by the end of fiscal 2017, she pointed out.

“While not all cost savings will fall to the bottom line and consolidated operating margin expansion will prove more difficult in coming years as UNFI integrates lower-margin Tony’s, an outlook for a more accelerated pace of implementation could result in more meaningful cost savings in coming years,” Bania added.

Wolf said UNFI “made a convincing case” for its cost-cutting prospects, including plans to lower its cost structure and increase its relevance with customers through use of technology — for example, backhauling to improve logistics and engineered labor standards to improve warehouse operations.

In addition, the company is implementing programs like iUNFI, a mobile order-entry system that has enabled customers to improve their fill rates by 0.7%; and “UNFI arrive,” which helps customers track deliveries more carefully to do a better job of planning in-store labor, Wolf pointed out.

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UNFI says cap-ex will level off in F2016

United Natural Foods, Inc., plans to continue aggressive investments in infrastructure for the next two years, after which it expects capital spending to level off to more normal levels, company executives told investors Wednesday during a conference call to discuss financial results for the fiscal year ended Aug. 2.

Capital expenditures in fiscal 2015 will fall within the range of $ 130 million to $ 140 million, or 1.6% to 1.7% of sales — to open three new distribution centers — compared with $ 147.3 million, or 2.2% of sales, in the fiscal year just ended, Mark E. Shamber, senior vice president and CFO, said.

The new facilities will be located in Hudson Valley, N.Y.; Prescott, Wis. (near Minneapolis); and Gilroy, Calif.

According to Steven L. Spinner, president and CEO of the Providence, R.I.-based natural foods distributor, “We’re building these buildings so we can be as close to the customer, with the most efficient distribution network, as anybody in the country. And with the [facilities] almost completed, we’re going to be in an enviable position of being able to win business, retain business and help our customers build their business in a really efficient manner.”

Fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2016 “are going to be our primary investment years,” he added, “and once we get into 2016 and 2017, we’ll be a much larger company and go back to more historical spending levels of less than 1% of revenue for cap-ex.”

With an increased number of distribution locations, UNFI believes it can get retailers who are buying direct to consider it as an outsource supplier Spinner said. “That’s certainly part of our hope, given our access to data, our in-store merchandising, our retail category management and the way in which we move product around the country,” he explained.

“Though the industry has gotten a lot bigger, it still relies very much on what a typical, conventional retailer would refer to as slow-moving product, and it’s very hard for them to make that work, [whereas] we’ve got a very efficient model for distributing these types of products.

“And there’s some historical data that would point to the fact we can have a great deal of success in convincing retailers we can handle those types of products more efficiently than they can.”

Asked for an example, Spinner said there might be a conventional retailer who carries 30 soups, of which three become faster-moving, “and that retailer might decide it’s cheaper to move those three SKU’s into its captive warehouse. But what the data points to is, because of the way they have to buy that product, they’re often out of stock, and whatever savings they have on the distribution side, they lose because they don’t have the product to sell to the consumers

“So even if they have to pay a little bit more by having us handle the distribution, they know their fill rate at the shelf could be 500, 600 or 700 basis points higher than if they’re trying to buy it direct, and I think the more sophisticated retailers have seen that and have gradually migrated those three soups, in this example, back to UNFI.”

In other remarks during the conference call:


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• Spinner said UNFI is testing a program that allows customers to access real-time delivery information for their specific location. The company hopes eventually to roll out the program, called UNFI Arrive, nationwide, he noted.

• The company’s national systems for transportation management, procurement and warehouse management have been fully implemented in the west and are expected to be completely available in the east by the end of the second quarter of fiscal 2015, Spinner said. The procurement system boosted service levels by approximately 4% in the west while reducing overall inventory 4%, Spinner added.

• The company said sales to supernatural customers, representing 34% of total revenues, increased 10% during the fourth quarter; sales to supermarkets, representing 27% of the total, was up 23.4%; sales to independents, accounting for 33% of sales, rose 13.4%; and food service sales, representing 3% of the total, grew by 25.4%.

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UNFI says initiatives boost fiscal results

United Natural Foods, Inc., Providence, R.I., said Wednesday ongoing initiatives to enhance its product offering helped boost financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Aug. 2.

Steven Spinner, president and CEO of the natural and organic foods distributor, said he believes UNFI is “well-positioned to capitalize on new business opportunities and to continue to pursue additional merger and acquisition opportunities aligned with our strategy and our investment in new capacity.”

Net income for the quarter increased 4.1% to $ 33.4 million, while sales rose 7.4% to $ 1.8 billion; excluding an extra week in the quarter, sales jumped 15.8%.

For the fiscal year net income was up 16.3% to $ 125.5 million, with sales climbing 12% to a record level of $ 6.8 billion; excluding the extra week, sales rose 14.3%.

The company said the acquisition of Tony’s Fine Foods, West Sacramento, Calif., in the fourth quarter and the addition of Trudeau Foods, Burnsville, Minn., in the first quarter boosted sales by approximately $ 64 million.

Net income for the year included a gain of $ 4.8 million associated with a non-cash transfer of land at the company’s Racine, Wis., facility. UNFI said it incurred costs of approximately $ 1.4 million related to the startup of the Racine facility; $ 800,000 related to the startup of a facility in New York’s Hudson Valley; and $ 1.5 million in costs related to the acquisition of Tony’s. 


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It also said it incurred a cost of approximately $ 6.3 million in expenses related to a labor action at its Auburn, Wash., facility and $ 1.6 million related to the termination of a licensing agreement and the write-down of the associated intangible asset.

The company experienced improved execution during the year on procurement and inbound logistics within its supply chain group, it noted.

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UNFI Buys Minnesota Wholesaler

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods Inc. here said Thursday it has agreed to acquire regional wholesaler Trudeau Foods LLC, a Minnesota-based distributor of of natural, organic and specialty food products.

Terms were not disclosed. The transaction is scheduled to close by Monday.


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“This acquisition is the latest step in our strategy to grow our market share and deliver a complete basket of specialty, natural and organic products to our customers,” said Steve Spinner, UNFI’s president and chief executive officer. “We are excited to welcome Trudeau Foods to our organization. Both companies have a tremendous history of commitment to servicing their customers, and we are enthusiastic about the growth prospects for this market.”

Read more: UNFI Posts Q4 Sales, Profit Gains

Trudeau Foods, which had been owned by a private investment firm, serves over 600 customer locations, including chain and independent grocers, wholesalers and meat markets in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It carries a range of high-quality and specialty gourmet meats, frozen foods, dairy, bakery, deli, seafood and dry grocery items under several national, regional and private-label brands.

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UNFI Posts Q4 Sales and Profit Gains

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods Inc. saw its stock jump to a new 52-week high Friday after the wholesaler reported better than expected sales and earnings for the fourth quarter.

The company said fourth-quarter net income rose 27.6%, to $ 32.1 million, on a sales gain of 22.2%, to $ 1.64 billion, compared with year-ago results.

For the year, net income rose 18.1%, to $ 107.9 million, on a sales increase of 15.8%, to $ 6.06 billion. Both the fiscal year and fourth quarter contained one extra week.


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“Industry dynamics remain very favorable due to a growing number of consumers focusing on maintaining healthy lifestyles with an increased interest in natural and organic products and food safety,” said Steven Spinner, president and chief executive officer, UNFI, in a conference call with analysts. He projected that the wholesale market for natural and organic products would reach $ 100 billion by 2020, up from $ 55 billion today.

“Additionally, almost 80% of consumers are buying some organic products each year, and almost every single household in North America bought at least one natural and organic product last year, with over 72% of parents recognizing the USDA organic seal,” Spinner said. “These are extremely compelling numbers which point to long-term growth at UNFI.”

Mark Shamber, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said that the company’s growth accelerated during the first five weeks of the first quarter of fiscal 2014, “trending north of 14.5%.”

He said sales to supernaturals — large natural/organic chains — increased by 22.2% for the fourth quarter, and 13.4% adjusting for the extra week. Supermarket sales growth was 29.5% — or 21.1% adjusting for the extra week — and the independent channel grew at 15.8% in the fourth quarter, or 8% after adjusting for the extra week.

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UNFI Posts Q4 Sales and Profit Gains

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods Inc. saw its stock jump to a new 52-week high Friday after the wholesaler reported better than expected sales and earnings for the fourth quarter.

The company said fourth-quarter net income rose 27.6%, to $ 32.1 million, on a sales gain of 22.2%, to $ 1.64 billion, compared with year-ago results.

For the year, net income rose 18.1%, to $ 107.9 million, on a sales increase of 15.8%, to $ 6.06 billion. Both the fiscal year and fourth quarter contained one extra week.


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“Industry dynamics remain very favorable due to a growing number of consumers focusing on maintaining healthy lifestyles with an increased interest in natural and organic products and food safety,” said Steven Spinner, president and chief executive officer, UNFI, in a conference call with analysts. He projected that the wholesale market for natural and organic products would reach $ 100 billion by 2020, up from $ 55 billion today.

“Additionally, almost 80% of consumers are buying some organic products each year, and almost every single household in North America bought at least one natural and organic product last year, with over 72% of parents recognizing the USDA organic seal,” Spinner said. “These are extremely compelling numbers which point to long-term growth at UNFI.”

Mark Shamber, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said that the company’s growth accelerated during the first five weeks of the first quarter of fiscal 2014, “trending north of 14.5%.”

He said sales to supernaturals — large natural/organic chains — increased by 22.2% for the fourth quarter, and 13.4% adjusting for the extra week. Supermarket sales growth was 29.5% — or 21.1% adjusting for the extra week — and the independent channel grew at 15.8% in the fourth quarter, or 8% after adjusting for the extra week.

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UNFI Posts Q4 Sales and Profit Gains

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods Inc. saw its stock jump to a new 52-week high Friday after the wholesaler reported better than expected sales and earnings for the fourth quarter.

The company said fourth-quarter net income rose 27.6%, to $ 32.1 million, on a sales gain of 22.2%, to $ 1.64 billion, compared with year-ago results.

For the year, net income rose 18.1%, to $ 107.9 million, on a sales increase of 15.8%, to $ 6.06 billion. Both the fiscal year and fourth quarter contained one extra week.


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Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


“Industry dynamics remain very favorable due to a growing number of consumers focusing on maintaining healthy lifestyles with an increased interest in natural and organic products and food safety,” said Steven Spinner, president and chief executive officer, UNFI, in a conference call with analysts. He projected that the wholesale market for natural and organic products would reach $ 100 billion by 2020, up from $ 55 billion today.

“Additionally, almost 80% of consumers are buying some organic products each year, and almost every single household in North America bought at least one natural and organic product last year, with over 72% of parents recognizing the USDA organic seal,” Spinner said. “These are extremely compelling numbers which point to long-term growth at UNFI.”

Mark Shamber, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said that the company’s growth accelerated during the first five weeks of the first quarter of fiscal 2014, “trending north of 14.5%.”

He said sales to supernaturals — large natural/organic chains — increased by 22.2% for the fourth quarter, and 13.4% adjusting for the extra week. Supermarket sales growth was 29.5% — or 21.1% adjusting for the extra week — and the independent channel grew at 15.8% in the fourth quarter, or 8% after adjusting for the extra week.

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UNFI Posts Q4 Sales and Profit Gains

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods Inc. saw its stock jump to a new 52-week high Friday after the wholesaler reported better than expected sales and earnings for the fourth quarter.

The company said fourth-quarter net income rose 27.6%, to $ 32.1 million, on a sales gain of 22.2%, to $ 1.64 billion, compared with year-ago results.

For the year, net income rose 18.1%, to $ 107.9 million, on a sales increase of 15.8%, to $ 6.06 billion. Both the fiscal year and fourth quarter contained one extra week.


CONNECT WITH SN ON TWITTER

Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


“Industry dynamics remain very favorable due to a growing number of consumers focusing on maintaining healthy lifestyles with an increased interest in natural and organic products and food safety,” said Steven Spinner, president and chief executive officer, UNFI, in a conference call with analysts. He projected that the wholesale market for natural and organic products would reach $ 100 billion by 2020, up from $ 55 billion today.

“Additionally, almost 80% of consumers are buying some organic products each year, and almost every single household in North America bought at least one natural and organic product last year, with over 72% of parents recognizing the USDA organic seal,” Spinner said. “These are extremely compelling numbers which point to long-term growth at UNFI.”

Mark Shamber, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said that the company’s growth accelerated during the first five weeks of the first quarter of fiscal 2014, “trending north of 14.5%.”

He said sales to supernaturals — large natural/organic chains — increased by 22.2% for the fourth quarter, and 13.4% adjusting for the extra week. Supermarket sales growth was 29.5% — or 21.1% adjusting for the extra week — and the independent channel grew at 15.8% in the fourth quarter, or 8% after adjusting for the extra week.

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UNFI Inks Supply Deal With N.Y. Group

NEW YORK — Associated Foods Holdings here said Monday that it has entered an agreement with United Natural Foods Inc. for UNFI to be its primary natural-products wholesaler.


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“We are excited to be offering new and additional products to our store owners,” said Harry Laufer, co-chief executive officer of Associated. “Our partnership with UNFI will allow Associated to continue to be more competitive and grow our 250-store base.”

Associated provides grocery distribution, financing, marketing and promotional services to independently owned and operated grocery stores, which typically carry the “Associated” or “Compare” trade name.

Steven Spinner, UNFI’s president and CEO, added, “We are pleased to start a new relationship with Associated Supermarkets, a top retailer in the New York market. Given the evolving nature of the New York City market, we understand the demand for natural and organic products and are excited to be a part of that growth.”

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