DAYVILLE, Conn. — United Natural Foods here yesterday said it expects profit growth to return during the 2009 fiscal year, which began last month, after the natural foods distributor posted a decline in net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008. The company, which had struggled with the acquisition of Millbrook Distribution Services, said that business negatively impacted fourth-quarter net income by $2.9 million, resulting in a slight decline for the quarter to $12.8 million, vs. $13.1 million in the year-ago quarter. Sales for the quarter were up 29%, to $911.9 million; the increase was 20.3% excluding Millbrook. Comparable-sales growth totaled 11.9%, excluding Millbrook and the extra week in the most recent quarter. For the year, net income was down 3.3%, to $48.5 million, on a sales gain of 22.2%, to $3.37 billion. For 2009, the company projected earnings-per-share gains of 17% to 24%, adjusted for the 53-week year in 2008, on a sales gain of 10% to 12%.
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