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LOS ANGELES -- Unified Western Grocers, Inc., the largest wholesale grocery distributor in the Western United States, said Friday it achieved net earnings of $2.1 million for the first quarter ended April 2, an increase of 76.3 percent over the prior year.
However, sales were down 5.8 percent compared with the 2004 period, when the company benefited from the strike/lockout involving three major grocery chains in Southern California. Excluding the effects of the strike/lockout, sales increased 1.5 percent.
Unified Western Grocers' strong earnings and operations performance generated cash flow of about $28.3 million for the 26 weeks ended April 2, and contributed to the company's ability to reduce debt during the period.
"We are pleased with our results for the second quarter," said Al Plamann, president and c.e.o., in a statement. "In a very competitive environment -- particularly in Southern California -- our core business experienced a sales increase of 1.5 percent over the 2004 period. That's very encouraging because it shows that our independent retailers are holding their own against some very aggressive competition."
"Our earnings also continue to remain strong, thanks largely to investments that we have made in our infrastructure and continual focus on cost reductions. With the implementation of new technologies and several process enhancements, we continue to see dramatic improvements in our entire distribution system," Plamann said.
Unified Western Grocers is a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the Western United States.