DAYVILLE, Conn. — United Natural Foods here yesterday saw its stock price rise nearly 12% after it showed some earnings improvement and reaffirmed its guidance for the year. In a conference call with analysts, the company also said it has not seen any indications of trading down by consumers in its core natural and organic product business despite the concerns over the economy and rising prices. The company also said it has seen little resistance from its retail customers to an added surcharge to cover the rising cost of diesel fuel. Net income for the three-month third quarter, which ended April 26, was $13 million, down slightly from year-ago results of $13.7 million but ahead of Wall Street’s expectations. Sales were up 21%, to $154.4 million, excluding the results of the Millbrook Distribution acquisition late last year. The profit improvement was “more a case of results exceeding beaten-down expectations” wrote Simeon Gutman, an analyst with Goldman Sachs, in a report.
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