By Kimberley Donoghue
PBN Web Editor
PROVIDENCE – United Natural Foods said its profit for the first quarter of fiscal 2012 fell $2.2 million, or 12.9 percent, to $15.2 million when compared with the same quarter a year earlier.
The food distributor’s earnings per diluted share were 31 cents, compared with 39 cents in the year earlier quarter.
“Sales growth in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 was robust as we geared up for what we believe should be a strong holiday season. We also successfully rolled out service to our newest national customer while maintaining high service levels to our broad customer base,” said Steven Spinner, president and CEO.
Net sales were $1.2 billion in the quarter ended Oct. 29, up 15.6 percent year over year.
Operating expenses for the first quarter included a $6.9 million charge related to the divestiture of the non-foods and general merchandise businesses and “onboarding expenses related to the company’s newest national customer.”
UNFI's newest customer is Safeway Inc.; it signed a three-year distribution agreement with the company in July.
Earnings per diluted share were also affected by the dilutive impact of the equity offering completed in the first quarter 2011, it said.
“Looking forward, we’ll have an enhanced focus toward driving efficiencies and expense control as we continue to adapt to higher growth in lower margin customers,” said Spinner.