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United Fails to Meet Estimate, Shares Slide

United Natural Foods (NYSE:UNFI) shares sank Tuesday. United Natural Foods forecast earnings per share and adjusted EBITDA in the coming year below analysts’ estimates, citing profitability headwinds, and fiscal fourth-quarter revenue that missed analysts’ $7.47 billion estimate.

The company, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, reported net sales increased 2.0% to $7.4 billion, yet the company sustained a net loss of $68 million; Loss per diluted share (EPS) of $(1.15). Adjusted EBITDA decreased 56.3% to $93 million. Adjusted EPS decreased to $(0.25).

Said CEO Sandy Douglas, “Our fourth quarter concluded a challenging year in which we continued to emphasize serving customers and suppliers, and we also worked diligently to improve operating effectiveness, efficiency and our technological capabilities. While we grew sales across all of our customer channels, profitability declined primarily due to a decrease in inflation driven procurement gains and elevated shrink. We expect further headwinds as we continue to cycle elevated inflationary benefits during the first half of fiscal 2024.”

Next fiscal year projections call for net sales between $30.9 billion and $31.5 billion. Net loss was between $36 million and $110 million. EPS is projected to be between 60 cents and $1.86.

UNFI is North America’s premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, eCommerce providers, and foodservice customers.

UNFI shares slumped $3.24, or 17.1%, to $15.67.