United Natural Foods Jumps as Quarterly Sales Rise 12%

United Natural Foods posts strong preliminary fiscal third-quarter profit and sales.

United Natural Foods  (UNFI) - Get Report was jumping in premarket trading after the food wholesaler posted strong preliminary profit and sales for its fiscal third quarter as demand for its products surged.

The company also withdrew its prior outlook for 2020 based on the strength of the preliminary numbers.

Earnings in the quarter rose 54% to $88 million, or $1.60 a share, the company said. Adjusted earnings were $1.40 a share, up from 61 cents a year earlier.

Sales in the period jumped 12% to $6.67 billion.

"Customer demand for both our natural and conventional products surged early in our fiscal third quarter and remains elevated, illustrating the value inherent in our strategy to build a distribution network capable of servicing natural, conventional and fresh perimeter products at scale,” said CEO Steven Spinner in a statement.

“That demand, along with our ongoing synergy and integration initiatives, contributed to our strong preliminary third quarter results. We remain fully committed to keeping supermarket shelves across North America stocked and serving our customers and communities when they need us most, while prioritizing the safety of our teams who are working with exceptional dedication," the CEO added.

The company said it would provide updates to its full-year guidance when it reports third-quarter earnings in early June.

The stock, meanwhile, was raised to equal-weight from underweight by analysts at Wells Fargo, with a price target of $16 a share.

Shares of United Natural Foods were rising 31.01% to $20.32 in trading Wednesday.

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