Millbrook Impacts UNFI’s Profits in Q1

United Natural Foods Inc. yesterday said the Millbrook specialty-foods business was a drag on earnings in the first quarter, but the distributor is moving closer to reaping the benefits of the year-old acquisition.

DAYVILLE, Conn. — United Natural Foods Inc. here yesterday said the Millbrook specialty-foods business was a drag on earnings in the first quarter, but the distributor is moving closer to reaping the benefits of the year-old acquisition.

Net income for the period, which ended Nov. 1, was down abut 3%, to $13.2 million, but would have been up about 8.1%, to $14.7 million, excluding the impact from Millbrook. Total sales in the quarter were up 17.4%, to $864.2 million, including an 11.5% gain in sales to conventional supermarkets and a 56.2% gain to independents.

Steven Spinner, who recently stepped in as president and chief executive officer of UNFI, said the company expects to open its first “fully integrated” distribution center carrying both specialty and organic and natural product in York, Pa., in April, and follow that with integration of the technology at the Sarasota, Fla., depot. The goal is to integrate all of the specialty DCs within 18 months, Spinner said.

Analysts were pleased with the company’s results, given the softening sales at Whole Foods Market, a major customer of UNFI. The stock slid 5.6% yesterday to close at $18.19.

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