Unified Profits Dip in 2011


LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers here said last week that its profits and sales were down in 2011 after the loss of a member, some store closures and other factors. 
The cooperative wholesaler said net income fell 32.7% for year, to $7.4 million, compared with year-ago results, and sales declined 1.9%. The fiscal year ended Oct. 1.
Unified attributed the profit decline to the lower sales levels, lower investment performance driven by lower returns in the financial markets, and higher fuel and medical expenses, which were partially offset by lower operating expenses.
Sales were $3.85 billion, compared with $3.9 billion a year ago. Unified said it attributed the drop to the loss of C&K Markets, Brookings, Ore. — whose annual volume runs around $460 million — and the impact of store closures, which were partially offset by increased sales to existing customers and the addition of new customers.
As previously reported, C&K switched to Minneapolis-based Supervalu as a wholesale customer in March.
According to Al Plamann, Unified’s chief executive officer, “Unified and our member retailers were successful in holding onto market share in a competitive and challenging business environment. In fact, our members continued to invest in their businesses by opening more than 35 new stores and remodeling and upgrading countless others.”
He also said Unified added new customers in Hawaii and Alaska; experienced a “significant” increase in business in Mexico; and continued to grow perishables and specialty sales “at a steady pace.”