SYSCO Corporation (NYSE: SYY), North America’s largest foodservice marketer and distributor, today announced plans to broaden its industry-leading distribution coverage with the construction of a “fold-out” facility in South Carolina. The company has tentatively selected a site for the complex on Garners Ferry Road, on the outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina, in Richland County. SYSCO is currently performing due diligence for the site selection process, including geotechnical and environmental studies, and expects to finalize the location by the end of the calendar year. The new operation will include approximately 266,000 square feet of building space and is expected to be operational by the first quarter of calendar year 2002. The company plans to employ 400 initially and expects the employee base to reach 600 by 2005.

Commenting on the announcement, Charles H. Cotros, SYSCO’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, ”We are impressed with the responsiveness of the state of South Carolina, Richland County and the local community in addressing the requirements of this new SYSCO operating company to serve the region. We have indicated our intentions to enter the South Carolina market since the inception of SYSCO’s ”fold-out” strategy in fiscal 1995 and, based on the opportunities we currently see in the region, as well as the current success of SYSCO operating companies in adjoining states, this decision was a logical step in our expansion process. Since we currently serve customers in the South Carolina market, this new facility will support more efficient service. It also reflects the soundness of the ”fold-out” strategy and SYSCO’s commitment and ability to grow sales internally when practical, and externally through selective acquisitions that are strategic to our long-term goals.”

The announcement of the South Carolina ”fold-out,” SYSCO’s eleventh since fiscal 1995, comes less than two months after the company disclosed plans to construct a ”fold-out” operation in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mr. Cotros stated that the ”fold-out” strategy — the opening of a new facility in an area with an established customer base that is being served from a distant SYSCO location — has been a very successful internal geographic growth strategy since its inception in fiscal 1995. Two additional ”fold-outs” under construction in Sacramento, California and the Hampton Roads area of Virginia are expected to be completed in calendar year 2001.

”Among the major benefits of SYSCO’s ‘fold-out’ strategy is the ability to enhance service levels to customers in each respective region,” Mr. Cotros added. ”SYSCO’s Charlotte, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida operations presently supply customers in this region, and are experiencing significant growth rates. The new operation in South Carolina will enable us to further penetrate that market and allow the Jacksonville and Charlotte operations to focus more intensely on the respective distribution locales surrounding their facilities.”

SYSCO Corporation is the largest foodservice marketing and distribution organization in North America, providing food and related products and services to about 356,000 customers. The SYSCO distribution network, supported by more than 40,000 employees, currently extends throughout the entire contiguous United States, Alaska, the District of Columbia, Hawaii and portions of Canada. For fiscal 2000, which ended July 1, 2000, the company reported sales of $19.3 billion.