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UNFI Posts Double-digit Q4 Sales Growth

United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) reported a net sales increase of 16.8 percent to $2.06 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 ended Aug. 1, compared with $1.76 billion for the year-ago period. Q4 net income grew 8.2 percent to $36.1 million from last year, while diluted EPS rose 7.5 percent to 72 cents, versus 67 cents in the same period last year.

Q4 2015 included net sales of about $221.7 million from UNFI's acquisition of Tony's Fine Foods, as compared to $45.3 million in the year-ago period. Operating income grew 26.9 percent, or $13.8 million, to $65.1 million for Q4, compared with $51.3 million for the year-ago period. 

UNFI 2015 Results

For the fiscal year ended Aug. 1, net sales were $8.18 billion, an increase of 20.5 percent, or $1.39 billion, from the year-ago period. Operating income grew 14.8 percent to $242 million, compared with $210.8 million in 2014. Adjusted operating income rose 19.2 percent to $251.3 million, while diluted EPS was up 9.5 percent to $2.76 in 2015, versus $2.52 in 2014.

"During fiscal 2015 we completed the buildout of our distribution network, preparing us for a new phase of growth,” noted UNFI President and CEO Steven Spinner. "With this additional capacity, particularly within perishables, we are poised to capitalize on increasing demand for fresh and distinctive products."

2015 net sales included about $882.8 million from the UNFI's acquisition of Tony's, as compared with $45.3 million in the same period last year. Operating income for 2015 was $242 million, a 14.8 percent increase from the $210.8 million posted in 2014. 

"The UNFI team continues to demonstrate its commitment to growth and resilience as our industry changes," added Spinner. "UNFI is well positioned to use its scale and differentiated product offering to add significant value for its customers across North America."

UNFI Executive Transition 

In other news, UNFI has revealed its executive team transition plan: Michael "Mike" Zechmeister will succeed Mark Shamber as SVP, CFO and treasurer in mid-October. Shamber will assist with the executive team transition and continue to aid the company’s business strategy and development through Dec. 31.

"Over the next several weeks Mark will work closely with Mike through this transition," affirmed Spinner, who described Zechmeister "as a seasoned leader in finance with significant experience successfully managing and growing multibillion-dollar businesses as we further adapt to meet the ever-changing needs of customers in an expanding and evolving marketplace."

Zechmeister has joined UNFI from Minneapolis-based General Mills Inc., where for more than 25 years he gained corporate finance, audit, treasury, operations and merger and acquisition experience. 

After assisting in the transition, Shamber said he would "[shift his] focus to continued corporate development activity."

Providence, R.I.-based UNFI carries and distributes more than 80,000 products to 40,000-plus customer locations throughout the United States and Canada. The company serves a wide variety of retail formats, including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the foodservice channel.

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