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UNFI struggles with Supervalu integration

UNFI logo with Better Food Better Future slogan.

In United Natural Foods Inc.’s BB #:158953 fourth quarter report, executives said the Supervalu integration isn’t going as well as they hoped.

The quarterly results underwhelmed analysts’ projections, and UNFI CEO Steve Spinner said the company should be able to improve performance in the future.

“As a management team, 2019 was a humbling year. I mean, it was a really hard year and we learned a lot,” he said on the earnings call.

“But at the end of the day, we believe that we have the ability to look around the corner to see what was coming and take action to ensure that the company had a long term play and the ability to be the number one player in the marketplace as the entire environment evolved.”

“So what happened? Well, I think the industry headwinds turned against us. So just bad timing. I think that we underestimated the complexity of the integration associated with the companies that SUPERVALU had previously purchased.”

Spinner also confirmed the company plans to sell the Shoppers and Cub banners this fiscal year.

Fourth quarter net sales increased to $6.41 billion, or 2.8% when excluding the contribution from Supervalu. Fourth quarter net income was $18.9 million, compared to $32.8 million in Q4 last year.

“We don’t like underperforming in a year, but we feel good about where we are,” he said.


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services