(By Balachander) United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: UNFI) posted higher earnings and sales growth for the first quarter on strong demand for its natural and organic products.
The distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods delivered adjusted earnings per share (EPS) rose 16 percent to 46 cents, in line with consensus estimates. GAAP net income grew 41 percent to $21.5 million.
Net sales jumped 16 percent to $1.41 billion. Wall Street analysts expected revenue growth of 14.40 percent.
Gross margin shrank 110 basis points to 16.7 percent for the three months ended October.
"Despite moderated inflation and higher than anticipated product shortages, strong consumer demand continued to drive steady growth for our products and services during the quarter," commented CEO Steven Spinner.
Spinner said he anticipates growth for the holiday season to remain strong as consumers continue to move towards a healthier lifestyle.
UNFI stock closed Thursday's regular trading at $52.07. Over the past year, shares have been trading between $35.85 and $61.26.