Unifed Reports ‘Solid Year’ Despite Sales Dip

LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers here said earnings and sales declined for the fiscal year that ended Oct. 2, but the company said it is seeing signs of economic recovery.

LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers [2] here said earnings and sales declined for the fiscal year that ended Oct. 2, but the company said it is seeing signs of economic recovery.

Net income for the year — a 52-week year compared to 53 weeks in the prior year — dropped 25.7% to $11 million, and sales fell 3.2% to $$3.9 billion.

However, the member-owned cooperative said the price of members' stock rose 4.9% during the year — to $304.48 per share, from $290.37 a year ago — due to the strong performance of the company's specialty foods, dairy, insurance and financial subsidiaries, the company said.

"Despite a challenging and difficult business environment, our earnings were right on target, and by comparing the same 52 weeks from 2009 and 2010, our total sales were off only about 1%," said Al Plamann [3], president and chief executive officer.

"Given the uncertainties associated with the economy and less than stellar results we have seen from other grocery companies, we feel 2010 was a solid year for Unified and its retail members. This solid performance enabled us to set aside a portion of our non-patronage earnings into permanent equity.

"While we believe 2011 will again be a challenging year, we also feel there are signs that a recovery is beginning to take hold. Many of our retailers invested in the future growth and success of their businesses in 2010 by opening new stores and remodeling existing ones, and because this trend is continuing in 2011, we believe it is an indicaion of confidence regarding future business prospects for independent retail grocers."