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Natural Grocers ‘strong’ in second quarter


Sales from new stores as well as a nearly 7% same-store sales increase bolstered Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage’s second quarter ended March 31.

Net sales increased 22.4% to $130.3 million over the same period in fiscal year 2013 due to a $16.6 million increase in sales from new stores and a 6.9%, increase in comparable store sales.

Daily average comparable store sales increased 5.7% in the quarter compared to a 10.6% increase in the second quarter of fiscal year 2013. The 5.7% increase in the second quarter of fiscal year 2014 was driven by a 2% increase in daily average transaction count and a 3.7% increase in average transaction size. Daily average mature store sales increased 3.7%.

Net income increased 24.3% to $4 million with diluted earnings per share of $0.18 in the quarter.

"Our sales increases and disciplined approach toward operating expenses have resulted in strong financial results this quarter which allowed us to continue our investments into growth," said Kemper Isely, co-president. "Additionally, reflecting our commitment to our five founding principles, we are excited to announce that during the quarter we updated our dairy standards. Further distinguishing us from our competitors, we plan to sell only pasture-raised, non-confinement dairy products. We intend to substantially complete the implementation of these standards by April 2015. Our customers have provided positive feedback during this transition, as they appreciate our commitment to quality standards."

During the quarter, the company opened five new stores, bringing the total store count to 81 stores located in 13 states as of March 31. The company plans to open a total 15 stores in fiscal year 2014 and expects to remodel two existing stores. One of the remodels was completed in the first half of fiscal year 2014.

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