United Natural Foods on Wednesday reported earnings of $38.9 million on sales of $2.3 billion during the fiscal fourth quarter ended July 29.
The sales figures were boosted by the acquisition of specialty businesses Haddon House products and Gourmet Guru, which is helping the natural products supplier expand further into specialty and fresh.
Gross margin for the quarter was 15.75%, an increase of 15 basis points from the same period last year. The increase was primarily driven by margin enhancement initiatives and fuel surcharges, partially offset by competitive pricing. Earnings per share of 72 cents topped Wall Street expectations of 70 cents.
For the fiscal year, UNFI’s sales improved to 9.5% to $9.3 billion, while net income increased 3.5% to $130.2 million.
“Our performance in fiscal 2017 demonstrated our steadfast focus on serving our customers and managing our business in a challenging and deflationary operating environment,” Steven L. Spinner, chairman and CEO of UNFI, said in a statement. “We are optimistic about growth and the opportunities ahead of us, given the strength of our national supply chain as well as the breadth of our unique, better for you, fresh, organic and specialty product offerings.”
UNFI said it expects net sales for fiscal 2018 in the range of approximately $9.6 billion to $9.8 billion, an increase of 3.8% to 5.8% over fiscal 2017 net sales. The estimates earnings per diluted share to be in the range of approximately $2.67 to $2.77, an increase of approximately 4.3% to 8.2%. Capital expenditures for fiscal 2018 are expected to be 0.6% to 0.7% of estimated fiscal 2018 net sales.