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    Unified Western Grocers Net Up Almost 50% for '06

    LOS ANGELES -- Unified Western Grocers, Inc. here, the West's largest wholesale grocery distributor, posted impressive earnings for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2006, amassing net earnings of $16.1 million for the year, up 49.2 percent over last year.

    LOS ANGELES -- Unified Western Grocers, Inc. here, the West's largest wholesale grocery distributor, posted impressive earnings for its fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2006, amassing net earnings of $16.1 million for the year, up 49.2 percent over last year.

    Earning earnings before patronage dividends and income taxes came to $45.0 million for 2006, vs. $38.7 million for the year-ago period, the wholesaler said.

    Sales for 2006 were $2.95 billion, up 3 percent from fiscal 2005. Operating income was almost 11 percent higher than the prior year, and the exchange value of the members' shares in Unified at year-end was $222.82 per share, a rise of 13.8 percent over the last year.

    The company attributed its 2006 results to new stores opened by its members, and ongoing sales growth in perishables and its Market Centre specialty products and services subsidiary.

    "While 2005 was an exceptional year for our company, 2006 was even better," noted Alfred A. Plamann, UWG president and c.e.o., in a statement. "This is the third consecutive year that Unified's net earnings have increased by more than 40 percent over the prior year -- a truly remarkable achievement for an industry and supply channel that is generally thought to be stagnant and mature."

    Looking ahead, Plamann said UWG's members "are well-positioned to capitalize on new opportunities in the marketplace and will continue to expand and grow their businesses by differentiating themselves from other retail competitors," with help from new strategies that "are helping our members capture market share in their respective trading areas."

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