Unified Reports Sales and Earnings Up in 1st Quarter Fiscal 2014

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LOS ANGELES, Feb. 5, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Unified Grocers, Inc. ("Unified" or the "Company"), the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the western United States, announced improved gross billings and earnings for the fiscal quarter ended December 28, 2013 (the Company's first quarter of fiscal 2014).

The Los Angeles-based distributor reported gross billings of $979.2 million for the quarter, compared to gross billings of $953.4 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 (a 2.7% increase). Net sales of $954.7 million for the 2014 period compare to net sales of $946.0 million for the 2013 period. The Company achieved earnings of $6.4 million before estimated patronage dividends and income taxes, compared to $1.7 million in the 2013 period. This improvement carried through to net earnings, which were $2.8 million for the quarter (compared to a net loss of $0.1 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2013).

"We had a very good start to the fiscal year," said Bob Ling, president and chief executive officer, Unified Grocers, Inc. "These significantly improved results — especially the growth in sales and earnings — are a validation of the actions we took last year to turn around the business. It's only one quarter, but I am very optimistic about the direction we are going. The growth in our sales activity actually began in the second half of fiscal 2013 and we have a number of key initiatives that will help us continue to build our sales momentum and achieve our long-term objective of growing the business profitably for Unified and our members. We continue to be diligent about expense control, we are working hard to increase the overall efficiency of our distribution network and we are focused on delivering the best possible customer service to our members."

"I am particularly encouraged because these results were achieved in a difficult end-of-the-year retail environment," Ling added. "That kind of performance speaks volumes about the strength and resiliency of independent grocers throughout the western United States."

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
December 28, 2013 December 29, 2012
Gross billings $979,153 $953,414
Less: Gross billings through vendor direct arrangements (24,434) (7,403)
Net sales $954,719 $946,011

Operating income
9,275 4,887

Earnings before estimated patronage dividends and income taxes
6,418 1,696

Estimated patronage dividends
2,388 2,536

Net earnings (loss)
$2,789 ($87)

CONTACT: Paul Dingsdale, Director of Communications (323) 881-4150 pdingsdale@unifiedgrocers.com

Source: Unified Grocers