UNFI Announces Quarterly Results, Search for New CEO

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Providence, RI—United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) has reported financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2020, and has announced CEO Steven Spinner’s intention to retire.

Highlights of the fourth quarter, according to a press release, include:

  • Net sales increased 0.4% to $6.75 billion, an 8.0% increase on a comparable basis
  • Net income increased 173.7% to $52 million, a 207.1% increase on a comparable basis
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased 19.3% to $198 million, a 27.9% increase on a comparable basis
  • Earnings per diluted share (EPS) increased 147.2% to $0.89, a 177.9% increase on a comparable basis
  • Adjusted EPS increased 202.9% to $1.06, a 205.2% increase on a comparable basis

Highlights of the full year include:

  • Net sales increased to $26.5 billion
  • Net loss of $(274) million, including $425 million pre-tax goodwill and asset impairment charges recorded in the first quarter of fiscal 2020
  • Adjusted EBITDA increased to $673 million
  • Loss per diluted share (EPS) improved to $(5.10)
  • Adjusted EPS increased to $2.72
  • Reduced outstanding debt, net of cash, by $388 million; year-end adjusted EBITDA leverage ratio of 4.0x
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In the press release, Spinner said: “Fiscal 2020 was a monumental year for UNFI as the demonstrated flexibility and strength of our supply chain network led to full year results that exceeded our expectations. At the same time, we’re focused on keeping our associates safe and maintaining the food supply chain for communities across North America through the unprecedented events of 2020, including the pandemic, civil unrest, and natural disasters. We’re continuing to execute with passion and purpose on our strategy and expect further growth in fiscal 2021.”

In a second press release, UNFI announced that Spinner had informed the Board of Directors of his intention to retire as CEO at the conclusion of his employment agreement on July 31, 2021, or earlier if a successor can be found. He will remain on the Board as Executive Chairman following his retirement.

The Board has initiated a search to find UNFI’s next CEO. They will consider both internal and external candidates.

Spinner said in the release: “It has been my honor to lead UNFI over these past 12 years and a pleasure to have worked alongside our exceptional associates. We serve an important mission of delivering food to millions of people every single day. When reflecting on my tenure as CEO, I’m most proud of our people and our culture, where our shared beliefs drive everything we do. The future has never been stronger for UNFI as our integration work is nearing completion and we now look toward expansion of new services, technologies, brands and our vast supply chain network. In close collaboration with the Board, I decided now is the right time for the Company to transition to its next leader. As we enter the next chapter, I have great confidence in the strength of our team and the opportunities ahead and look forward to my continued service as Executive Chairman.”

Peter Roy, Lead Independent Director at UNFI, added: “Over the last 12 years, Steve has made many valuable contributions to UNFI, including growing our customer base, adapting our business to the demands of the digital marketplace, executing on value-enhancing acquisitions and, most recently, fulfilling UNFI’s role as a critical link in the North American food supply chain during an unprecedented global pandemic. Throughout his tenure, Steve has methodically and consistently led UNFI to new heights, increasing annual sales from $3 billion to over $26 billion today. At the same time, Steve has fostered a strong set of core values across the Company, building and inspiring a talented team around him and living UNFI’s commitment to serve our customers and the communities in which we operate. The Board is conducting a comprehensive search to identify the best candidate to serve as our next CEO, and we look forward to continuing to benefit from Steve’s strategic oversight and institutional knowledge as Executive Chairman.”

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