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ID NEWS: PFG reports strong 1st quarter

Performance Food Group (PFG), Richmond, VA, has reported sales of $1.3 billion for the first quarter of 2003, up 27% from $996.9 million for the equivalent 2002 quarter. Net earnings soared 53% to $16.4 million, as compared with $10.8 million a year ago.

"The first-quarter results represented the 33rd consecutive period in which net sales and net earnings have increased, compared with the prior-year period," comments C. Michael Gray, president and ceo. "Our first-quarter sales growth of 27% consisted of 11% internal growth and 16% from acquisitions."

All business segments contributed to internal growth, in spite of the impact of harsh winter weather, increased fueled costs and the war in Iraq, Gray added. "Our growth strategy of capitalizing on strategic acquisitions, deepening the penetration within existing accounts, winning new customers and focusing on product and service innovation should continue to serve us well, as we move through the rest of what appears to be an exciting 2003."

Broadline sales surged 43% as compared with the year earlier quarter, aided by 2002 acquisitions of Quality Foods, Middendorf Meats and Thoms-Proestler Co. Street sales per delivery were down slightly, primarily as a result of adding new salespeople and new accounts and the negative impact of bad weather. Customized business increased 21% for the quarter, driven by expanding relationships with Ruby Tuesday, Inc., and T.G.I. Friday's restaurants, and the addition of Mimi's Cafe. Fresh-cut sales grew a more modest 5%, reflecting deflation of 5% as compared with the prior-year period.

PFG's "Real! Fresh! Fruit!" fresh-cut fruit pilot at retail level continues on schedule on the West Coast and is now in approximately 1,000 stores.

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