Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. on Thursday reported net sales increased $1.6 million, or 0.6%, to $274.2 million for its fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 30, the Lakewood, Colorado-based grocer said.
Daily average same store-sales took a dip and decreased 0.2% for the fourth quarter, but increased 15.8% on a three-year basis. Fourth quarter net income for the retailer of natural and organic groceries was $2.2 million with diluted earnings per share of nine cents. Adjusted EBITDA was $13.6 million for the fourth quarter.
"The fourth quarter results were in-line with our expectations given the moderation of pandemic trends, including more normalized levels of summer travel and food-away-from-home consumption," said Kemper Isely, co-president, in a statement. "We estimate that product cost inflation was approximately 7% for the fourth quarter and 5% for the fiscal year. Historically, our inflation rate has been more stable than conventional grocers due to our specialized supply chain. In the last year our inflation rate was lower than our peers, and did not contribute to our comparable store sales to the same magnitude as our peers. We continue to pass along the impact of product cost inflation through pricing."
During the fourth quarter, Natural Grocers opened two stores and relocated/remodeled one store, ending the quarter with a total of 164 stores in 21 states.
As for the company’s full-fiscal 2022 results, net sales increased $34.1 million, or 3.2%, to $1.1 billion compared to fiscal 2021. Daily average same-store sales increased 2.6% as well, spurred by a 2.1% increase in daily average transaction size and a 0.4% increase in daily average transaction count, the grocer reported.
"We had record results for the full year, achieving our previously announced guidance for daily average comparable-store sales growth and diluted earnings per share,” Isely said in a statement. “Fiscal 2022 was our nineteenth consecutive year of positive daily average comparable store sales growth. As we look forward to fiscal 2023, we remain focused on enhancing shareholder value by driving profitable growth, leveraging our differentiated model, emphasizing operational excellence and executing to our founding principles."