SpartanNash Reports Strong Quarter, Mixed Fiscal Year

Michigan food solutions company posts gains for Q4 and some declines for the year
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
SpartanNash truck
SpartanNash is rolling into its new fiscal year following a strong fourth quarter and a disruptive overall 2021.

SpartanNash is out with its financial report for the fourth quarter and fiscal year and, like 2021 in general, it was a mixed bag marked by periods of disruption and still-evolving shopping habits.

Broadly, SpartanNash’s retail comparable store sales rose 7.3% during the fourth quarter and dipped 0.5% for the fiscal year ending Jan. 1, 2022. Net sales topped $2.09 billion for the quarter, compared to $2.25 billion the previous fourth quarter. For FY2021, net sales came out at $8.93 billion versus $9.35 billion in fiscal 2020.

Like many retailers, SpartanNash put up a comparison to the pre-pandemic year of 2019. On that two-year basis, retail comparable store sales rose 16.9% for the quarter and 12.7% for the year.

Comparable sales performances over the months and year were attributed to higher store sales within SpartanNash's retail segment and growth among its existing food distribution customers, also taking into account the effects of inflationary pricing. Net sales in SpartanNash retail stores were $613.1 million in the last quarter, a decline from the fourth quarter 2020 mark of $627.4 million. The company’s military segment experienced lower sales during that timeframe due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on foot traffic.

Meanwhile, net earnings came in at $22.2 million for the last quarter and $75.9 million for the year. Earnings from continuing operations in fiscal 2021 were lower than in 2020, a loss that SpartanNash linked to higher supply chain labor and transportation expenses and increased corporate administrative and health insurance costs, among other things. 

President and CEO Tony Sarsam, now in his second year at SpartanNash, said that the company views its fourth quarter results as strong and thanked associates for their resilience during a time of inflation, supply chain and pandemic challenges. "Our team stepped up to deliver solid results in 2021 while remaining focused on our pursuit of operational excellence. We have great confidence heading into 2022 that we are positioned for creating sustainable growth and long-term shareholder value,” he remarked.

On that note, SpartanNash projected retail comparable sales to range from flat to 2% in fiscal 2022. For its food distribution business, the company expects sales to rise 2% to 4%. The organization sees continued uncertainty in its military distribution sales, pegged to decline between 3% and 7% this year.

SpartanNash’s core businesses include distributing grocery products to independent and chain retailers, its corporate-owned retail stores, and U.S. military commissaries and exchanges, as well as fresh produce distribution and fresh food processing. No. 39 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company serves customer locations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Europe, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Djibouti. SpartanNash also operates 146 supermarkets and employs 19,000 associates. 

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