Unified Cites Economic Pressures in Q2

LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers here said Friday that a weakened economy and the later Easter holiday this year resulted in lower sales and earnings for the second fiscal quarter and first half, compared with a year ago.

LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers [3] here said Friday that a weakened economy and the later Easter holiday this year resulted in lower sales and earnings for the second fiscal quarter and first half, compared with a year ago.

Net income fell 26.3% to $2.3 million for the 13-week quarter, which ended April 2. Sales dropped 2.8% to $933 million. For the half, net income declined 12.5% to $5.9 million, while sales fell 2.4% to $1.9 billion.

The cooperative wholesaler said the sales declines were due primarily to “the ongoing general decline in economic conditions in the Western U.S. and the weeks preceding Easter occurring in the third quarter of fiscal 2011 compared with the second quarter a year ago.”

The decrease in net sales was partially offset by additional sales generated from new customers, the company added.

“The economic situation is generating mixed results throughout the regions in which we operate," said Al Plamann [4], president and chief executive officer. "In the Pacific Northwest our upscale retail operators are outperforming other formats, and we are optimistic about the future. On the other hand, many of our retailers throughout California are continuing to experience sales and margin pressure and, in some cases, are aggressively implementing cost-control measures.

“These mixed results also apply to inflation, which we believe will play a significant role in our results for the remainder of the year. While we benefit from inventory gains, these gains often are offset by higher business costs, such as health care, and also by consumers trading down to lower-priced products.”