By Aisha Al-Muslim
United Natural Foods Inc. raised guidance for its current fiscal year as it reported second-quarter earnings and revenue rose from a year ago.
Shares rose 9% to $47.81 in after-hours trading Thursday. Shares are down 12% in the last three months.
The Providence, R.I.-based company reported a profit of $50.5 million, or 99 cents a share, up from $25.5 million, or 50 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales jumped 11% to $2.53 billion.
Excluding a provisional one-time benefit of $21.9 million related to U.S. tax overhaul and restructuring and impairment charges, adjusted earnings per share were 71 cents, an increase of 21 cents from last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast adjusted earnings of 55 cents a share on $2.45 billion in revenue.
For fiscal 2018, which ends July 28, the company raised its guidance for a second time. The company is now estimating net sales of $10.01 billion to $10.16 billion, an increase of 8% to 9.5% from fiscal 2017 levels. The company also guided adjusted earnings per share in the range of about $3.06 to $3.14 in 2018, which would be at least 20% higher than the prior year.
The company said in December that it expected to earn a per-share profit of $2.72 to $2.80 in fiscal 2018 on sales of $9.84 billion to $10 billion. The company previously projected earning a profit of $2.67 to $2.77 a share and $9.63 billion to $9.81 billion in sales.
United Natural Foods is slated to benefit from Amazon.com Inc. rollout of two-hour delivery from Whole Foods Market stores. United Natural Foods already had Amazon business for its online grocery operations before the online giant bought Whole Foods, but the company is seeking to further serve the e-commerce outlet since the acquisition.
Whole Foods accounts for about one-third of the distributor's business and has seen sales growth since Amazon bought the grocer and slashed prices over the summer.
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