Q1 Sales Stabilize at UNFI

A moderation of price inflation and greater consistency in weekly sales has given wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc. here confidence that it has seen — and survived — the worst of the economic downturn, the company said Thursday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A moderation of price inflation and greater consistency in weekly sales has given wholesaler United Natural Foods Inc. here confidence that it has seen — and survived — the worst of the economic downturn, the company said Thursday.

“We’re beginning to feel more comfortable and more optimistic that we have seen the bottom of the decline and things are beginning to improve,” Steve Spinner, president and chief executive officer of UNFI, told analysts in a conference call discussing results for the fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31. Spinner said United Natural is expecting to post sales gains of 2.5% to 5% for the 2010 fiscal year after a first-quarter revenue gain of 2.4%.

United reported net income of $15.5 million on sales of $884.8 million. Net income increased 17.2% and was in-line with analyst estimates.

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