Unified Grocers’ board of directors announced two EVP appointments on Tuesday.
Leon Bergmann was named EVP of sales and procurement, and Dan Murphy was named EVP of fresh programs and manufacturing.
Bergmann has served as SVP of sales since joining Unified in December 2012. In addition to responsibility for sales and service functions across all of Unified’s operating regions, last year Bergmann assumed additional responsibility for overseeing the customer satisfaction team and grocery, frozen and deli procurement. Over the past year he has played a lead role in rolling out strategies to strengthen Unified’s ability to drive sales, increase customer satisfaction and improve overall efficiencies. Bergmann will continue to report to Bob Ling, president and CEO of Unified.
Before joining Unified, Bergmann was president of independent business at Supervalu.
Murphy, who joined Unified in October 2000, was named SVP of fresh programs and manufacturing in 2012. In his new role, Murphy will continue to be responsible for overseeing Unified’s meat, produce, service deli and manufacturing divisions.
“Dan’s extensive knowledge of our members and excellent knowledge of all facets of Unified’s operations will serve him well in his new role,” said Ling, to whom Murphy will continue to report.
Prior to Unified, Murphy was VP of merchandising for HomeGrocer.com. His background also includes Wakefern/ShopRite.
“Working closely with Sue Klug, Joe Falvey and others throughout the organization, Dan’s and Leon’s highest priority is driving sales and customer satisfaction,” Ling said.
Unified reports sales and earnings up in fiscal 2014 first quarter
In other Unified news, the company is reporting improved gross billings and earnings for its fiscal 2014 first quarter ended Dec. 28.
The Los Angeles-based distributor reported gross billings of $979.2 million for the quarter, compared to gross billings of $953.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 (a 2.7 percent increase). Net sales of $954.7 million for the 2014 period compare to net sales of $946.0 million for the 2013 period. The company achieved earnings of $6.4 million before estimated patronage dividends and income taxes, compared to $1.7 million in the 2013 period. This improvement carried through to net earnings, which were $2.8 million for the quarter (compared to a net loss of $0.1 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2013), the company says.
“We had a very good start to the fiscal year,” said Ling. “These significantly improved results—especially the growth in sales and earnings—are a validation of the actions we took last year to turn around the business. It’s only one quarter, but I am very optimistic about the direction we are going. The growth in our sales activity actually began in the second half of fiscal 2013 and we have a number of key initiatives that will help us continue to build our sales momentum and achieve our long-term objective of growing the business profitably for Unified and our members. We continue to be diligent about expense control, we are working hard to increase the overall efficiency of our distribution network and we are focused on delivering the best possible customer service to our members.
“I am particularly encouraged because these results were achieved in a difficult end-of-the-year retail environment,” he added. “That kind of performance speaks volumes about the strength and resiliency of independent grocers throughout the western United States.”