PROVIDENCE – United Natural Foods Inc. reported net income for its 2013 fiscal year of $107.9 million, or $2.18 per diluted share, an increase of 18.1 percent over its previous fiscal year, on net sales of $6.1 billion, an increase of 15.8 percent on the previous year.
President and CEO Steven Spinner noted in a prepared statement that the company “demonstrated real progress across all of our core strategies.”
One factor in the improved profitability was a 58 basis point (0.58 percent) decline in operating expenses, which improved operating income to 3.1 percent of net sales on the year.
United Natural saw even larger improvements in its fourth-quarter results, with a 27.6 percent increase in profitability to $32.1 million on a 22.2 percent gain in net sales to $1.6 billion. The company noted in its earnings release that gross margin improved 53 basis points in the fourth quarter to 17.3 percent, “due to improvements in purchasing and logistics efficiencies, partially offset by a continued shift in the company’s customer mix to lower-margin conventional supermarkets,” according to the earnings release. For the year, however, the company reported that gross margin came in at 16.9 percent, a decline of 59 basis points on fiscal 2012.
The wholesaler of natural foods to a variety of retail channels more than doubled its capital expenditures on the year to $66.6 million.
“Continued expansion of our distribution network, technology improvements and coming together as one company will be important strategies for continuing to deliver long-term growth. We also remain extremely committed to our culture of giving and reducing our carbon footprint,” said Spinner.
Finally, the company released earnings guidance for fiscal 2014, with sales growth expectations of 9.7 to 11.8 percent on the year to about $6.65 billion to $6.78 billion (the company also noted that the fiscal 2014 year will be a 52-week period compared with fiscal 2013, which was 1 53-week period). The company predicted earnings per diluted share ranging from $2.40 to $2.50.