•  Q3 sales up 15.3%
  •  Net income up 24.3%
  •  FY guidance lifted

US distributor United Natural Foods (UNFI) has raised its full-year sales guidance after its third-quarter sales increased by over 15%.

The company said yesterday (5 June) third-quarter net income rose 24.3% to US$29m, or $0.59 per share. Gains were driven by higher sales, which were up 15.3% to $1.39bn.

"Continued demand for UNFI's products and services drove our 15.3% net sales growth during the fiscal third quarter," said president and CEO Steven Spinner. "Our results demonstrate UNFI's continued commitment to growing at a rate that exceeds the industry while delivering exemplary customer service to the organic and speciality foods retailer."

The company said gross margins were hit by a shift in its customer mix into the conventional supermarket channel. Higher expenses were partially offset by operational efficiencies, the group added. As a result, gross margin slipped to 17.5%, from 18.2% last year.

Nevertheless, the natural foods handler raised its sales outlook for its full financial year. UNFI said sales in the 12 months to 28 July are now expected to total $5.18-5.22bn, up from its previous guidance range of $5.11-5.17bn. The company also increased the top end of its earnings guidance to a range of $1.84-1.88 per share, compared to its earlier forecast of $1.79-1.86.

Click here for the full earnings update.