LOS ANGELES -- Unified Western Grocers here said last week improved wholesale performance and ongoing expense reductions contributed to stronger financial results for the first quarter ended Dec. 28.
ore patronage dividends and income taxes rose 39.3% to $6.1 million, and patronage dividends rose 38.1% to $4 million.
The company said it attributed the improved performance to increases in productivity and throughput at each of its five major distribution centers; a companywide reduction in expenses; improvements in the profitability of its insurance and specialty food subsidiaries; and continued strength in its financing subsidiary. In addition, it said cash flow from operations and working capital also improved.
During the prior year Unified converted pricing in core categories from a percent-of-sales basis to a cents-per-case service fee; it also implemented a quasi-reorganization of its retail operations that allowed it to discontinue the 12-store operation.
Alfred A. Plamann, president and chief executive officer, said, "Our results confirm that recent strategic initiatives we have implemented are the correct ones and will go a long way toward assuring the future financial strength of our company and the success of our members."