Increased consumer interest in natural and organic food has ratcheted up competition for United Natural Foods Inc., the distributor said Monday.
“Our first quarter financial results reflect an evolving marketplace for natural and organic foods. As consumers demand healthier options, rapid adoption of natural and organic products across sales channels has increased the competitive nature of our industry,” Steven Spinner, president and CEO of the Providence, R.I.-based distributor, said in a statement reviewing earnings for the fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31.
“Despite these headwinds, our customers have demonstrated their continued confidence in UNFI through contract extensions valued at over $785 million per year, in addition to a modification and extension of our contract with Whole Foods Market until 2025. This, combined with opportunities in gourmet and ethnic products as well as fresh foods, represents tremendous incremental long-term growth opportunities for UNFI as we focus on our mission to connect farms to families by delivering healthier food options to more people every day.”
For the quarter, UNFI posted sales of $2.1 billion, a 4.2% increase from the same period last year. Excluding the effect of a customer defection, sales gained by 6.8%, UNFI said.
Net earnings of $30.1 million were down by 8.8%. Earnings per share of 63 cents came in below analyst estimates of 68 cents.
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