Earnings, Sales Down at Unified

LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers [2] here said Wednesday that net income fell 32.7% and sales declined 1.9% for the fiscal year that ended Oct. 1, compared with a year ago.

Net income was $7.4 million, compared with $11 million a year earlier — a decline the company said was due to the lower sales levels, lower investment performance driven by lower returns in the financial markets, and higher fuel and medical expenses, which were partially offset by lower operating expenses. Sales were $3.85 billion, compared with $3.9 billion a year ago.

Unified said it attributed the drop to the loss of C&K Markets, Brookings. Ore. — whose volume runs around $460 million — and the impact of store closures, which were partially offset by increased sales to existing customers and the addition of new customers.

According to Al Plamann, chief executive officer of the member-owned cooperative, "Unified and our member retailers were successful in holding on to market share in a competitive and challenging business environment. In fact, our members continued to invest in their businesses by opening more than 35 new stores and remodeling and upgrading countless others.”"

He also said Unified added new customers in Hawaii and Alaska, experienced a "significant" increase in business in Mexico, and continued to grow perishables and specialty sales "at a steady pace."