Unified Grocers Continues Sales Growth and Operating Income Improvement

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| Source: Unified Grocers

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Unified Grocers, Inc. announced improved sales and operating income for its third quarter of fiscal 2014 ended June 28, 2014, and the year to date.

The Los Angeles-based wholesaler reported gross billings of $2.882 billion for the year, compared to gross billings of $2.778 billion for the same period last year (a 3.7% increase). Similarly, the company reported gross billings of $983 million for the quarter, compared to gross billings of $939 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 (a 4.7% increase). Net sales for the quarter and year-to-date were 2.3% and 1.7% higher than last year.

This performance reflected ongoing improvement in the company's core business. "We are extremely pleased by the continued growth in sales and profitability," said Bob Ling, president and chief executive officer, Unified Grocers, Inc. "A lot of work has gone in to turning around the business and establishing positive momentum, and that is clearly paying off within our core business."

The company's operating income was $11 million, an improvement of $8.3 million on a year-to-date basis. This improvement is in spite of a net loss for the quarter due to an increase in non-cash reserves of $7.5 million in the Company's insurance segment. The increase in non-cash reserves was driven by continued adverse claims development and the challenging California workers' compensation marketplace.

Speaking in regards to the insurance segment, Ling stated: "We have undertaken significant changes to improve the business over the past year, including replacement of personnel, re-examination of our outstanding claims and new claims handling processes, but the impact of those changes has not yet been fully realized."

The company's wholesale distribution segment showed increases in gross billings of $45.2 million for the quarter (a 4.8% increase) and $106.2 million on a year-to-date basis (a 3.8% increase). These gains, along with cost control and improved efficiencies, helped the wholesale distribution segment achieve an operating income of $6.1 million for the quarter (an increase of $2.6 million over the third quarter of fiscal 2013) and $17.4 million on a year-to-date basis ($9.5 million over fiscal 2013 through three quarters).

"Our core wholesale distribution business is strong, both from a sales and profitability standpoint," Ling continued. "The most recent quarter's results demonstrate the company's strong fundamentals. We are positioned to generate future sales and earnings growth, have reduced our debt and our liquidity remains strong."

About Unified Grocers, Inc.

Founded in 1922, Unified Grocers is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the western United States. Unified and its subsidiaries, which generated approximately $3.7 billion in sales during fiscal year 2013, offer independent retailers all the resources they need to compete in the supermarket industry.

An online version of Unified's Form 10-Q, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available on Unified's website at www.unifiedgrocers.com and at www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml

Safe Harbor Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements about the future performance of Unified Grocers based on Management's assumptions and beliefs in light of information currently available to it. There are a variety of factors that could cause actual and future results to differ materially from those anticipated by the statements made above. These factors are outlined in the Company's Form 10-K and other interim reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Furthermore, Unified undertakes no obligation to update, amend or clarify forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

Unified Grocers, Inc.
         
(dollars in thousands) For the 13 Weeks Ended For the 39 Weeks Ended
  June 28,
2014
June 29,
2013
June 28,
2014
June 29,
2013
Gross billings $983,230 $939,155 $2,881,693 $2,777,635
Less: Gross billings through vendor direct arrangements 31,898 9,859 82,034 25,352
Net sales $951,332 $929,296 $2,799,659 $2,752,283
Operating (loss)/income1 (919) (1,479) 11,024 2,771
         
(Loss) Earnings before estimated patronage dividends and income taxes (3,788) (14,645) 2,508 (17,001)
       
Estimated patronage dividends 2,510 2,264 7,831 7,228
         
Net (loss) $(3,877) $(11,261) $(2,799) $(15,913)
         
  Results of Operations by Segment  
(dollars in thousands) For the 13 Weeks Ended For the 39 Weeks Ended
  June 28,
2014
June 29,
2013
June 28,
2014
June 29,
2013
Wholesale distribution $6,087 $3,517 $17,357 $7,911
Insurance (7,074) (5,152) (6,224) (5,581)
All other 68 156 (109) 441
1Operating (loss)/income $(919) $(1,479) $11,024 $2,771
Paul Dingsdale, Director of Communications
(323) 881-4150