Operating profit increased 31% to $39.8 million and net earnings climbed 35% to $21.6 million.
Sales for the first nine months of 2003 come to $4.0 billion, up 24% from $3.2 billion in the equivalent 2002 period. For the year to date, internal growth comprises 14% and acquisitions 10% of sales growth. Net earnings for the same period are up 26% to $62.0 million.
Broadline sales grew 15% during the quarter, fresh-cut sales, 13%. Customized sales surged 30%, driven by ongoing and expanding relationships with Ruby Tuesday, Inc., T.G.I. Friday's and Mimi's Cafe. Inflation for the customized segment was approximately 1% for the quarter.
"The third quarter represented the 35th consecutive quarter in which net sales and net earnings have increased, compared with the prior-year period," comments C. Michael Gray, PFG president and ceo. "Our financial and operating results are gratifying and continue to validate our business strategies, despite some of the challenges we are facing as we continue to grow. Sales in all segments of our business continued to outpace industry benchmarks during the quarter."
PFG's balance sheet remains strong, Gray further notes. "Our debt-to-capital ratio was 28% at the end of the third quarter, excluding $110 million of interests in accounts receivable sold under our accounts receivable purchase facility."
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