Dayville, Conn.-based United Natural Foods, has announced that it anticipates revenues, for the FY ending 31 July 2003, in the range of US$1.15m to US$1.17m with net income, excluding special items, in the range of US$1.18-US$1.20 per diluted share.

The distributer also noted that gross margin is expected to be slightly above 20% while operating margin is expected to be slightly below 4%. Operating expenses as a percentage of sales are expected to be in the mid-16% range, and interest expense is expected to be approximately 50 basis points of sales. United's FY 2003 financial guidance reflects the anticipated impact of not renewing, as previously announced, the primary distribution agreement with Wild Oats past its current expiration date of 31 August 2002.

CEO Michael Funk commented: "With our operating divisions continuing to turn in strong performances and industry fundamentals remaining positive, we remain well positioned to capitalise on the growing market for natural products.

"The company remains focused on executing its business plan and market strategy and, looking forward into FY 2003, we will continue to pursue a broad range of internal and external growth strategies. Central to this focus is an emphasis on maximising profitability, expanding our customer base and increasing our penetration with existing accounts.

"Furthermore, our improved balance sheet along with our line of credit provides us with ample flexibility to pursue other strategic opportunities that may arise. We are particularly interested in utilizing the capital available resulting from the non-renewal of the Wild Oats contract to expand geographically into the Midwest and Texas markets."

With respect to results for the Q4 2002, Funk added: "Although we will not be announcing actual Q4 2002 results until September, we are confident that our sales growth for the Q4 2002 will continue in the 12% - 14% range, and are maintaining our previous guidance of US$0.28-US$0.30 per diluted share."