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Keeping Independents In The Fight Brings Record Results For AWG

AWG President and CEO David Smith
AWG President and CEO David Smith

Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) reported record consolidated net sales on continuing operations of $9.7 billion and distributed a record $210.5 million in year-end patronage at its Annual Shareholders Meeting on March 27. David Smith, president and CEO of the Kansas City, Kansas-based cooperative, said the growth was due to the success of the independent grocers AWG services.

“Despite the challenges of an intensely competitive retail environment, the impact of disruptive technology and the workforce squeeze, AWG experienced another strong year of performance and growth,” Smith said. “We are blessed to be the cooperative grocery wholesaler of choice to many of the nation’s finest independent grocers and our success is wholly due to their success. We are so very thankful to all of our members for their trust and support, for the leadership of our board and the great efforts of our vendor partners as well as our AWG teammates that made it happen.”

AWG’s cooperative sales were $8.59 billion, an increase of $110 million vs. 2017. Total distribution of cooperative benefits returned to shareholders including interest, allowances and patronage, was $558.7 million. Total members’ investment and equity ended the year valued at $556.2 million, an all-time record. Additionally, the trading value for class “A” shares increased by 4.55 percent to $2,300 per share.

“In challenging times, as an independent grocer, I believe that it’s vitally important to be a part of something larger and stronger than ourselves that has the products, tools, resources and support to remain relevant and successful. AWG is owned by its grocers, led by grocers and focused on the success of its grocers,” said AWG Chairman of the Board Barry Queen. “I’m proud to be a part of this cooperative and proud to see the continued fine results that we can deliver for the benefit of our retailer-members. It gives me and my family the confidence to stay in the fight. I feel good about where we are going.

“I’m very proud of our leadership team and our board of directors that work closely together to ensure our cooperative remains strong and is focused on the needs of our members—today and tomorrow,” Queen added.

The Annual Shareholders Meeting was held in conjunction with AWG’s second annual Innovation Showcase, which featured more than 160 innovative solutions and more than 50 concurrent educational workshops, all focused on supporting AWG’s members by better aligning the efforts of the cooperative, its members and vendor-partners.

AWG is the nation’s largest cooperative food wholesaler to independently owned supermarkets, serving more than 1,000 member companies and more than 3,600 locations in 36 states from eight full-line wholesale divisions. In addition to its cooperative wholesale operations, the company also operates subsidiary companies that provide certain real estate and supermarket development services, print and digital marketing services, and is a wholesale supply provider of health and beauty care, GM, specialty/international foods and pharmaceutical supply.

About the author


A 10-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.

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