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AWG annual profits, patronage up; new leadership team announced

Associated Wholesale Grocers reported record consolidated net sales of $8.9 billion and distributed $194 million in year-end patronage at its annual shareholders meeting, held Sunday in Kansas City, Kan. The company also announced members of a leadership team of senior employees to assist CEO David Smith in serving the membership of the cooperative wholesaler.

The leadership team includes, from left, Jeff Pedersen, Dan Funk, Scott Welman, Gary Koch, Patrick Reeves and Richard Kearns.
The leadership team includes, from left, Jeff Pedersen, Dan Funk, Scott Welman, Gary Koch, Patrick Reeves and Richard Kearns.

AWG said its year-end patronage rebate represented 2.79% of qualifying sales, an increase of two basis points over the prior year and the second highest dollars and percentage in AWG history. Total distribution returned to shareholders including interest, allowances and patronage was $544 million. Total members’ investment and equity ended the year valued at $477.7 million, up $28 million (6.4%) from prior year and an all time record, the company added.

Gross profit within the cooperative, including cash discounts from suppliers, was 5.71% of sales, an increase of two basis points over prior year due to improvements in supply chain controls. Operating expenses were virtually flat to prior year at 3.1% of sales. Trading value for class “A” shares increased 4% to $1,915 per share.

“While other grocery wholesalers have consistently raised fees and charges to their customers over the years to make up for increasing expenses or declining sales, AWG has bucked the trend by dramatically reducing operating expenses year-after-year and lowered its effective markup and fees charged to its members, while maintaining dependable year-end patronage returns. This is our model and it has worked well for 90 years," David Smith, president and CEO of AWG, said in a statement.

The six-member leadership team announced at the meeting "draws on a wealth of diverse backgrounds, experiences and talents," Smith said. "They are aligned in leading our employees to serve the needs of our membership and meet the challenges ahead."


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Members of the group are Jeff Pedersen, EVP, division operations; Dan Funk, EVP, merchandising and marketing; Scott Welman, SVP and general counsel; Gary Koch, EVP and CFO; Patrick Reeves, SVP and chief human resources officer; and Richard Kearns, EVP, distribution and logistics.

“AWG is blessed to have the right combination of skilled management, dedicated employees, great suppliers, and owner-members with passion and energy," Barry Queen, AWG’s chairman, said in a statement. “Altogether, we have the strength to differentiate ourselves in a positive way from competing chains and big box stores.”

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