LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers  here said continued uncertainty among consumers resulted in modest drops in sales and earnings for the first quarter, which ended Jan. 2.
Net income fell 1.1% to $3.7 million and sales declined 2% to $980.3 million, compared with year-ago results. The company said the sales decrease was the result of overall weak economic conditions, including a shift in customer demand toward lower-cost items, which was partially offset by additional sales generated from new customers.
"There continues to be much uncertainty among consumers, and this has caused them to hold back on spending," said Al Plamann , president and chief executive officer. "While there have been times in which consumers were willing to spend a little more — such as during the holidays — these periods have generally been short-lived and many have since refocused their attention on lower cost items, deals and coupons.
"It is possible, however, to be successful in this business climate. Our independents are succeeding because they are willing to differentiate themselves from their competition in the marketplace."