Net sales up at SpartanNash
Consolidated net sales were up in the fourth quarter and full year at Grand Rapids, Mich-based SpartanNash Co., with gains in its distribution and military segments offsetting declines in a persistently deflationary retail sector.
Fourth-quarter net sales increased to $1.83 billion from $1.77 billion in the prior-year quarter, while sales for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2016, rose $82.6 million to $7.73 billion from $7.65 billion in fiscal 2015.
Dennis Eidson, SpartanNash's CEO and chairman, said he believes SpartanNash is well-positioned to continue to leverage its strong business model, distribution network and balance sheet to grow sales and earnings. As a positive, he cited SpartanNash’s recent selection by the Defense Commissary Agency, which operates U.S. military commissaries worldwide, as its partner in its new initiative to offer a variety of private label products in its commissaries.
“While we expect the deflationary environment to continue through the first half of the year, we remain confident in our overall strategy and believe our focus on providing value and innovative solutions to our food distribution and retail customers will continue to serve our business well,” Eidson said in a statement.
Eidson also said he was optimistic about Caito’s Fresh Kitchen, which the company acquired in late 2016.
“With Caito’s Fresh Kitchen facility commencing production in the first half of fiscal 2017, we are optimistic about the opportunities to offer fresh protein-based foods and prepared meals to our customers,” he added.
Fourth-quarter operating earnings were $24.6 million, compared with $33 million in the prior-year quarter. Earnings from continuing operations were $12.8 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, compared with $17.2 million, or 46 cents per diluted share, a year ago. Operating expenses were $234.6 million, or 12.8 percent of sales.
For the year, earnings from continuing operations for fiscal 2016 were $57.1 million, or $1.52 per diluted share, compared with $63.2 million, or $1.67 per diluted share, last year.
“Our fourth-quarter performance was a strong finish to an equally strong fiscal 2016 as we continued to grow sales and exceed our earnings guidance despite a continued challenging deflationary environment,” Eidson added.