US food distributor United Natural Foods posted a dip in profits for its fourth quarter, impacted by higher operating expenses.

The company reported net income of US$12.8m, or $0.30 per diluted share, for the period to 2 August, from $13.1m, or $0.31 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

Millbrook Distribution Services, which the company acquired in the second quarter of 2008, also had a negative impact on net income by around $2.9m, or $0.07 per diluted share.

The company said expenses were negatively impacted by $2.7m in labour and other costs, related to its relocation from its facility in Fontana, California to a new distribution facility in Moreno Valley, scheduled to open this week.

"While specialty division revenues have been below our expectations, we're beginning to realise positive customer reaction from initiatives designed to improve service and performance levels," said Michael Funk, president and CEO. "We're confident the business is stabilised and positioned to yield sales growth in fiscal 2009."

Fourth-quarter net sales jumped 29% to $911.9m from $706.8m in the fourth quarter of 2007. Analysts predicted revenue of $875.4m. Comparable sales rose 11.9%.

For the year, net profit fell 3.3% to $48.5m, or $1.13 per share, from $50.2m, or $1.17 per share in the prior year. Net sales rose 22% to $3.37bn.