LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers said yesterday investments in its distribution network, rising fuel costs and volatility in the equity markets are having a short-term impact on earnings for the second quarter that ended March 29, though the company said it expects earnings for the year to be "materially in line" with last year's performance. Net income for the quarter fell 64.7% to $1.3 million, while sales rose 31.6% to $991.9 million, reflecting $201.5 million from business in the Pacific Northwest following Unified's acquisition last fall of Associated Grocers, Seattle; Unified said its existing customer base grew sales 4.2% during the quarter. For the 26-week period, net income rose 5.7% to $7 million, while sales grew 33% to $2 billion, including $422.8 million (83% of the sales increases) from the Seattle operations. Unified said it remains ahead of prior-year earnings through two quarters. According to Alfred A. Plamann, president and chief executive officer, "The consolidation of the Seattle operations into Unified is proceeding extremely well, and we are also seeing continued strength in sales to our existing base of independent retailers."
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