LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers  here said a shift in consumer demand toward lower-cost items contributed to sales and earnings declines for the fiscal first quarter.
Net income for the 13-week period, which ended Jan. 2, fell 4.5% to $3.7 million, while sales declined 4.3% to $999.8 million.
“While our net earnings were off slightly, our performance is right where we thought we would be at this point in time,” said Al Plamann, president and chief executive officer of the cooperative wholesaler. “If the economy continues to show signs of stabilizing throughout the year, we believe Unified and our independent retailers will perform well this year.”
He said some stabilizing factors are becoming more apparent. “While consumers continue to spend cautiously, our sales during the holiday season reflected an improvement over recent trends, and for the most part, our independent retailers are right in sync with this shift.”
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