LOS ANGELES — Unified Grocers here said Friday it posted a loss on lower sales for the year that ended Sept. 28.
The loss totaled $17.6 million, compared with net income of $2 million during the prior year. The company said the loss resulted from one-time expenses totaling $21.4 million, including a $9.8 million fee for early extinguishment of senior secured notes, which provided greater flexibility for day-to-day operations and lower ongoing borrowing costs; an increase of $9.1 million in workers' compensation reserves for claims exposure; and $2.5 million in disposal costs related to leases and equipment.
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Sales fell 1.9% to $3.7 billion, while gross billings declined 1.4% to $3.7 billion.
"This was a year of transition, course corrections and establishing a solid foundation for growth, " Bob Ling, president and chief executive officer, said. "We have a strong leadership team in place and a plan that gives us a clear understanding of where the company is headed and how we're going to improve sales and profits.
"The fourth quarter was particularly encouraging in terms of establishing growth momentum; sales trends are improving; we have solid performance in our core operations; and all our important business fundamentals are headed in the right direction."
Ling said Unified's retail members are also seeing positive signs.
"While some are experiencing ups and others downs, a significant number invested in the future growth and success of their businesses in 2013 by remodeling stores and, in some cases, opening new locations — an indication of confidence regarding future business prospects."
Read more: Unified Revamps Under New CEO
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