Categories Earnings, Retail

Supervalu deal to take center stage at United Natural Foods Q4 call

United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) is reporting its fourth-quarter results on Thursday and analysts expect upbeat earnings and revenue from the organic and specialty foods distributor. Investors will be looking forward to the inclusion of additional details on the pending acquisition of Supervalu (SVU) for about $2.9 billion.

On an average, analysts predict the company to post earnings of $0.85 per share for the fourth quarter, compared to the previous year’s reported profit of $0.72 per share. Meanwhile, net sales are anticipated to rise by 11.50% to $2.61 billion. Most analysts have a “hold” rating on the stock, with an average price target of $44.93.

The company is depending heavily on the e-commerce space to drive the top line for the quarter. In the past four quarters, the company exceeded analysts’ expectations three times.

United Natural is working on the challenges associated with the third quarter’s higher-than-expected growth. The retail landscape has been changing continuously and the company aims to grow as it remains an important connector between manufacturers, brick-and-mortar retailers as well as e-commerce customers.

The company is likely to share additional information about Supervalu acquisition as well as guidance for the fiscal year 2019. In the forthcoming quarters, the company expects robust opportunities in the omnichannel arena. Investors expect the fourth quarter results to be driven by solid growth initiatives and robust consumer demand.

For the recent third-quarter, the company posted a 41.8% jump in earnings, helped by the continuous demand of its products. Net sales grew 11.8% on strong growth across all of its customer channels. For the fiscal year 2018, the company had guided adjusted EPS of $3.18 to $3.23 and net sales of $10.23 billion to $10.28 billion.

On Thursday, investors will be looking for additional details on the enhancement of customer base, expansion of distribution channel and e-commerce operations. The earnings conference call might also discuss the company’s focus on mergers and buyouts along with the Supervalu purchase details.

Shares of United Natural Foods opened Wednesday’s regular session lower and remained grounded till mid-afternoon. The stock has fallen about 32% year-to-date and over 16% for the past year, primarily driven by the Supervalu acquisition.

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