Unified Grocers, the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the Western United States, announced earnings of $7.4 million for the fiscal year ended Oct. 1, as compared to earnings of $11.0 million for the same time a year ago. The value of one share of stock held in the company rose to just more than $312, an increase of 3 percent over the previous year.
The Los Angeles-based cooperative reported net sales of $3.848 billion for the 2011 period, as compared to $3.921 billion for the 2010 period. The company attributed its sales decrease to the loss of a significant customer during 2011 and the impact of customer store closures. The decrease in sales was partially offset by increased sales to existing customers and additional sales generated from new customers in 2011.
Earnings before patronage dividends and income taxes were $25.1 million for the 2011 period, compared to $31.1 million for the 2010 period. The decrease was due, in large part, to the general decline in net sales, lower investment performance driven by lower returns in the financial markets and higher fuel and medical expenses, which were partially offset by lower operating expenses.
“Unified Grocers and our member retailers were successful in holding on to market share in a competitive and challenging business environment,” said Al Plamann, CEO of Unified Grocers. “In fact, our members continued to invest in their businesses by opening more than 35 new stores and remodeling and upgrading countless others during 2011.
“During the year we also added new customers in Hawaii and Alaska, significantly increased our business in Mexico, and are continuing to grow our perishables and specialty businesses at a steady pace. Though we anticipate that 2012 will be similar to 2011 in terms of the overall business climate, we believe that our company and our independents are well positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities as they materialize in the future.”
Be sure to check out a special section about Unified Grocers’ 90th anniversary in February’s Shelby Report of the West.