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Associated Wholesale Grocers reported record consolidated net sales of $7.85 billion and distributed a record $173 million in year-end patronage at its recent annual shareholders meeting.
The distribution amounted to 2.84 percent to qualifying sales – a new record, compared to last year’s 2.71 percent. Included was a special $5 million cash distribution based on non-recurring income. Total cash distribution exceeded $100 million for the first time, with an additional $73 million in short-term patronage certificates.
“AWG retailers continue to reap the benefit of working as a cooperative to grow sales and control costs,” said Jerry Garland, AWG president and CEO. Regarding the $5 million patronage pool, Garland said, “In our company there is nowhere else to go with unexpected income but back to the retailers who generated it.”
Gross margin within the cooperative, including cash discounts paid by suppliers, was 5.9 percent, virtually flat with last year; operating costs remained flat at 3.3 percent. Trading value for class A shares increased 4 percent to $1,700 per share.
Significant milestones for the company included the addition of the seventh full-line distribution center in Pearl River, La., and the expansion of the corporate headquarters to house consolidated backstage operations.
“We are extremely proud of this year’s financial results,” Garland said. “AWG had record performances in virtually every area of operations. Our consistent performance is a testament to the cooperative model where everyone has the same opportunity for success, and where transparency in the numbers breeds trust.”
Established in 1926, Kansas City, Kan.-based AWG supplies 2,400 independent retail locations in 21 states from distribution centers in Kansas City; Springfield, Mo.; Oklahoma City; Memphis and Nashville, Tenn; Fort Worth, Texas; and Pearl River, La.