United Natural to expand distribution in Midwest

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United Natural signs letter of intent to acquire Blooming Prairie
Co-op, the largest natural food distributor in the US MIdwest.

United Natural Foods Incorporated (UNFI), the US-based natural food group, has signed a letter of intent to buy Blooming Prairie Co-operative, the largest distributor of natural food products in the Midwestern United States.

Blooming Prairie had sales of around $130 million in the last 12 months, and distributes around 15,000 products to more than 2,700 customers such as conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators, co-operatives and buying clubs.

The purchase price for the acquisition, which is subject to approval by members of the Blooming Prairie co-operative, was not disclosed.

Michael Funk, United Natural Foods' chief executive officer, said: "One of our stated goals has been to further broaden our presence and increase customer penetration in the fast growing Midwest market. Acquiring Blooming Prairie's Iowa City and Minneapolis facilities will provide us with an immediate physical base as well as the growth platform to meet that goal and the volume to expand cost-effectively."

The deal is expected to be concluded in the first or second quarter of UNFI's fiscal year, and the company said it expected the deal to lift earnings by the start of the second year.

United Natural Foods​ carries and distributes over 30,000 products to more than 7,000 customers throughout the US. The company serves a wide variety of retail formats including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores and independent retail operators.

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