United Natural Foods has entered a new seven-year primary distribution agreement with Whole Foods Market Distribution, part of organic and natural retailer Whole Foods Market (WFM).

Under the terms of the deal, which took effect from 26 September 2006 and expires on 29 September, 2013, United Natural Foods will continue to serve as the primary wholesale natural grocery distributor to Whole Foods Market in its US regions where United Natural Foods already serves as the retailer’s primary distributor.

The new deal replaces an existing three-year primary distribution agreement, due to expire at the end of 2007. The companies did not disclose additional terms of the new agreement.

“Whole Foods Market is pleased to extend our long-term relationship with United Natural Foods,” said Walter Robb, co-president and co-chief operating officer of Whole Foods Market. “This seven-year agreement will allow us to concentrate our capital investment and resources on aggressively expanding our store base. Having United Natural Foods as a distribution partner is an important element of our growth strategy and we look forward to building and enhancing the strategic partnership between the two companies.”

United Natural Foods’ president and CEO Michael Funk, said: “We are excited about the opportunity to extend our decades old partnership with Whole Foods Market, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket. This new long-term agreement represents a natural progression for both companies and, as America’s premier certified organic distributor, we are committed to helping our customers be more successful in their marketplace by providing the highest quality product assortments and value-added support services.”

United Natural Foods has also reaffirmed its guidance for the 2007 fiscal year. The company said that for fiscal 2007, it expects revenues to increase by between 11% and 15% to a range of US$2.7bn to $2.8bn. Earnings per diluted share are expected to be in the range of $1.25 to $1.30, representing an increase of 15% to 19% from fiscal 2006.