Press Release

<< Back
United Natural Foods, Inc. Announces Plans for New Denver Distribution Facility

PROVIDENCE, R.I., Sept. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- United Natural Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq: UNFI) ("UNFI" or the "Company"), the leading national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods, today announced plans to consolidate its four existing Denver-based distribution facilities into a new state-of-the-art, 535,000 square foot facility located at Gateway Park in Aurora, Colorado.  The new facility is expected to commence operations in the summer of 2013.

Situated near I-70 in the Denver International Airport corridor, the new facility will serve as a distribution hub for retailers in the Rocky Mountain Region of the United States as well as Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.  The existing facilities' consolidation, all located within the City of Aurora, extends the Company's focus on enhancing efficiencies, improving productivity through "best in class" warehousing and inventory control systems, lowering operating costs in its distribution network and reducing Greenhouse gas emissions.  The distribution facility will be leased from The Pauls Corporation.

"With new and efficient operations, and all our associates located together, this new facility should enable us to continue to expand our operations while reducing operating costs," said Steve Spinner, UNFI's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Denver and Aurora are great communities with a strong and receptive workforce.  We are very excited about continuing our long-standing relationship in the area with a single, centrally-located facility at Gateway Park." 

Commenting on the Company's announcement, Steve Hogan, Mayor of the City of Aurora said, "United Natural Foods is a solid company with a bright future, and we are thrilled they have chosen to consolidate their operations in Aurora.  Aurora is the land of opportunity for business, and this state-of-the-art facility will bring new energy to our community. We're proud to have United Natural Foods in Aurora, and we look forward to their continued success."

The Company noted that no jobs are expected to be impacted in the transition.  The new distribution facility is expected to open with 475 associates; increasing up to 550 associates within the first three years based on current plans for increased capacity to meet demand.

"We are thrilled UNFI chose to stay in Aurora and build a new facility to house its growing workforce," stated Wendy Mitchell, president and CEO of the Aurora Economic Development Council.  "Building a new state-of-the-art facility will give the community a chance to see how companies have used the past few years to regroup and refocus their efforts on providing the best quality and cost effective solutions to their customers while growing their workforce.  Aurora is privileged to have the opportunity to have one of the few construction projects of this size in the metro area, and to have it built with emphasis on LEED® certification."

The new distribution facility will feature approximately 160,000 square feet of refrigeration and freezer space, including an expanded cold dock, and over 42,000 square feet for employee offices and workspaces. Environmental design plans will focus on resource and energy conservation, use of sustainable and recycled-content building materials and exceptional indoor air quality for the building occupants.

As part of its commitment to Green Initiatives, the Company plans to pursue LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for this distribution facility once operations commence.  LEED® is a third party certification program and a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.  LEED® promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

About The Pauls Corporation
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, The Pauls Corporation has a 30-year history of identifying and managing real estate developments throughout North America.  The Pauls Corporation has a successful track record of effectively integrating the key elements of location, design, construction, architectural appeal, and environmental sensitivity.

About United Natural Foods
United Natural Foods, Inc. (http://www.unfi.com) carries and distributes more than 65,000 products to more than 27,000 customer locations throughout the United States and Canada. The Company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the food service channel. United Natural Foods, Inc. was ranked by Fortune in 2006 – 2010 and 2012 as one of its "Most Admired Companies," winner of the Supermarket News 2008 Sustainability Excellence Award, recognized by the Nutrition Business Journal for its 2009 Environment and Sustainability Award and chosen by Food Logistics Magazine as one of its 2012 Top 20 Green Providers.

For more information on United Natural Foods, Inc., visit the Company's website at www.unfi.com.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding the Company's business that are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties and are based on current expectations and management estimates; actual results may differ materially. The risks and uncertainties which could impact these statements are described in the Company's filings under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, including its annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 28, 2011 and other filings the Company makes with the SEC, and include, but are not limited to, the Company's dependence on principal customers; the Company's sensitivity to general economic conditions, including the current economic environment; changes in disposable income levels and consumer spending trends; the Company's ability to reduce its operating expenses in amounts sufficient to offset its increased focus on sales to conventional supermarkets and the resulting lower gross margins on these sales; the Company's ability to timely and successfully deploy its new warehouse management system throughout its distribution centers; increased fuel costs; the Company's sensitivity to inflationary and deflationary pressures; the relatively low margins and economic sensitivity of the Company's business; the ability to identify and successfully complete acquisitions of other natural, organic and specialty food and related product distributors; and management's allocation of capital and the timing of capital expenditures. Any forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and, as such, speak only as of the date made. The Company is not undertaking to update any information in the foregoing reports until the effective date of its future reports required by applicable laws. Any projections of future results of operations are based on a number of assumptions, many of which are outside the Company's control and should not be construed in any manner as a guarantee that such results will in fact occur. These projections are subject to change and could differ materially from final reported results. The Company may from time to time update these publicly announced projections, but it is not obligated to do so.

                                       

SOURCE United Natural Foods, Inc.

AT THE COMPANY, Mark Shamber, Chief Financial Officer, +1-401-528-8634; or FINANCIAL RELATIONS BOARD, Joseph Calabrese (General Information), jcalabrese@frbir.com, +1-212-827-3772