LOS ANGELES -- Unified Western Grocers here said new business and increased perishables sales helped drive volume, and ongoing productivity improvements at its distribution centers helped boost earnings for the year ended Sept. 27.
or the year was $5.3 million, compared with a loss of $38.6 million a year ago that resulted from the closings of the company's 12-store retail division in September 2002. On a continuing basis, net income of $5.3 million was up 165% from $2 million a year ago.
Unified said its solid earnings performance resulted from the combined strength of a growing membership and quality services that made its members more competitive, as well as a continuing productivity improvement program at its five major distribution centers. The company also said it achieved improved profitability in its specialty food and financing subsidiaries.
The co-op wholesaler said it refinanced its revolving credit agreement earlier this month, with a $225 million secured credit facility that extends through December 2007, replacing a $200 million revolving credit agreement that was set to expire next September.
According to Al Plamann, president and chief executive officer, "We're very pleased with our 2003 results. The growth of our retailers' businesses, the addition of new members, and the financial strength of our company have positioned us for continued success in 2004. Last year's weak economy, as well as other national and regional concerns, have not affected our ability to generate positive year-end results."