8.7.2004: Meldung: United Natural Foods, Inc.: Outlook for Fiscal 2005

United Natural Foods, Inc. Provides Outlook for Fiscal 2005
Tuesday July 6, 7:28 am ET
Revenue is Expected to Increase to $1.9 Billion - $2.0 Billion and Earnings Per Share is Expected to Increase to $0.93 - $0.97

DAYVILLE, Conn., July 6 -- United Natural Foods, Inc., (Nasdaq: UNFI - News) announced today that it anticipates revenues, for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2005, in the range of $1.9 billion to $2.0 billion, representing growth of approximately 17% - 22% over fiscal year 2004. The Company also noted that its gross margin is expected to be in the low to mid 19% range.

The Company expects earnings per diluted share, excluding potential special items, in the range of $0.93 - $0.97 per share, or a 25% - 26% increase over fiscal 2004. This guidance reflects the continued improvements in Operating Margins, including the negative financial impact related to increased medical costs, which reduces earnings per share by approximately $0.02. Special items may include labor, moving and other costs related to the expansion of the Company"s distribution facilities. However, at this time the Company does not know the extent or significance of these items or whether the Company will in fact incur any of these or other special items in fiscal 2005. The Company"s guidance is based on a number of assumptions, which are subject to change and many of which are outside the control of the Company. If any of these assumptions vary, the Company"s guidance may change. There can be no assurance that the Company will achieve these results. A description of the Company"s use of non-GAAP information is provided under "Non-GAAP Results" below.

The Company plans to continue to invest in people, facilities, equipment and new technologies. The fiscal 2005 plan includes several capital projects that reflect the ongoing strength and growth of the Company"s business. Capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $35 million to $38 million during fiscal year 2005. These projects will provide both new facilities and technology that will provide the Company with capacity to continue to support the growth and expansion of their customers. The Company expects to incur approximately $100 million to $125 million in cumulative capital expenditures during the three years from fiscal 2005 through fiscal 2007.

"We are benefiting from favorable trends in the natural products industry and we will look to take advantage of historically low interest rates by scheduling several capital projects that reflect the ongoing strength in the growth of our business," said Steven Townsend, the Company"s Chair and Chief Executive Officer. "United Natural Foods is committed to being the highest quality and lowest cost distributor for the natural products industry and we place our customer at the center of all we do. We are committing to providing industry leading value-added service, offering an extensive selection of high-quality natural and organic products and having modern, state-of-the art distribution centers and delivery equipment. Consequently, we believe these projects will help build the foundation for United Natural Foods to continue leading the natural and organic industry into the future. As we look ahead to fiscal 2005, we will continue to pursue a broad range of internal and external growth strategies as a means to drive organic growth and gain market share. Our entire organization is highly focused on improving our profitability, expanding our customer base and increasing our penetration with existing accounts. Central to this success is our commitment to delivering superior customer and supplier services as well as providing innovative programs."

About United Natural Foods

United Natural Foods, Inc. carries and distributes over 35,000 products to more than 18,000 customers nationwide. The Company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores and independent retail operators.

For more information on United Natural Foods, Inc., visit the Company"s web site at http://www.unfi.com.

Source: United Natural Foods, Inc.
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