The company also noted that it reduced net debt by approximately $290 million and ended the quarter with $1.2 billion of liquidity.
The preliminary third quarter results reflect strong demand driven by responses to COVID-19, which UNFI said allowed it to leverage fixed costs and capitalize on its synergy and integration efforts undertaken in connection with the Supervalu acquisition. The results also reflect increased contributions from the Cub and Shoppers retail banners as well as substantial incremental costs related to COVID-19, including the impact of temporary pandemic related incentives and additional costs for safety protocols and procedures at distribution centers and retail stores.
For example, in mid-March, UNFI was one of the first companies to adopt the $2 per hour temporary state of emergency bonus and it also hired 2,000 new employees in March and April.
Providence, R.I.-based UNFI delivers a wide variety of products to customer locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, e-commerce retailers, and foodservice customers. The largest publicly traded grocery distributor in America, the company is No. 61 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food retailers in North America.