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UNFI Sees Sales Gains in Q4

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — United Natural Foods Inc. here said sales in the fourth fiscal quarter were up in double digits although net income fell as a result of one-time restructuring charges.

Net income of $17.2 million for the quarter, which ended July 30, was down 2.6%, while sales were up 17.2%, to $1.16 billion. The company incurred about $6.3 million in one-time restructuring charges related to the divestiture of its nonfood specialty business.

Sales in the independent channel, which represented 38% of the company's volume in the fourth quarter, were up 14.9% over the year-ago period, an acceleration from slower growth in previous quarters.

"I think maybe it just took them a little bit longer to adjust to the changes in the economic environment, but we were very, very pleased," said Steven Spinner, president and chief executive officer, in a conference call with analysts. He said sales growth is continuing in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

For the full fiscal year, UNFI said net income rose about 10.9%, to $76.7 million, on a 20.6% increase in sales, to $4.53 billion.

For fiscal 2012, the company said it expects net sales in the range of approximately $5 to $5.1 billion, an increase of approximately 10.4% to 12.6% over fiscal 2011.