Associated Wholesale Grocers (AWG) has reported consolidated net sales of $8.9 billion for 2014, up 6.6 percent over the prior year and up $1.1 billion over two years ago. Same-store sales were up 3 percent over the prior year.
Operating income was a record $231 million, up $30 million or 15 percent from the previous year. Income return to retail members was $195 million, up $12 million from the prior year. Total cash distribution returned to shareholders, including interest, allowances and patronage, was $547 million, or 7.8 percent of qualifying sales, up $25 million from the prior year.
Gross margins within the cooperative, including cash discounts paid by suppliers, were down again to 5.69 percent, indicating lower fees paid by retailers. Operating costs were reduced 10 basis points to 3.1 percent. Trading value for class A shares increased 4 percent to $1,840 per share.
Jerry Garland, president and CEO of AWG, said “Our consistent performance is a testament to the cooperative model where everyone has the same opportunity for success, and where transparency in the numbers breeds trust.”
In other AWG news, the company’s board has elected Barry Queen as its new chairman, replacing Bob Hufford, who is retiring after serving as the previous chairman for 11 years. Queen is only the third chairman that Kansas City, Kansas-based AWG has elected over the last 38 years. He operates stores under the Price Chopper banner in the Kansas City metro area. Don Woods Jr. of Woods Supermarkets in Bolivar, Missouri, was elected vice-chairman.
AWG is the nation’s second largest cooperative food wholesaler and has more than 600 member-owners and services more than 3,000 retail outlets in 31 states.
Shelby Report Online – 3/23/15