United Natural to Expand in Rhode Islands, Create 150 Jobs

Specialty foods distributor, United Natural Foods, Inc.UNFI is set to foray into the untapped markets of Rhode islands. The company has plans to hire 100 new full-time employees by the end of 2018 and a total of 150 new full-time employees by 2020 as a part of its expansion plans in the area.

These 150 newly created jobs are expected to increase personal income, sales and corporate business tax revenues of $4.8 million in the region over a 12-year period. An increase of $9.7 million in Rhode Island's annual GDP is also expected once all 150 hires have taken place.

United Natural operates with 34 distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada, and currently employs more than 9,800 employees. The company has taken a long-term lease at a metro-area site and will undertake investments in the property to accommodate the new employees. Further, the new employment opportunities provided by the company will in turn give tax credits under the Qualified Jobs Incentive Act program.

Notably, the company is taking initiatives to build store strategy and enhance the business through acquisitions. In the past 12 months, United Natural has acquired four exciting and uniquely positioned companies - Haddon House specialty foods, Global Organic, Nor-Cal and Gourmet Guru. With these acquisitions in its portfolio, United Natural is now positioned as a large national provider of fresh produce, proteins, bakery, deli, specialty and natural products.

The company has been enjoying a bullish run in the past one year. During this period, the stock has jumped 23.9%, compared with the Zacks categorized Food-Miscellaneous/Diversified industry's growth of 11.7%. However, the trend is expected to reverse soon. This Providence, RI-based company reported weaker-than-expected first-quarter fiscal 2017 results , its estimates have been going downhill. In fact, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2017 has dipped 0.8% in the past 60 days.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

United Natural carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other favorably placed stocks in the broader consumer staples sector include ConAgra Foods Inc. CAG , Ingredion, Inc. INGR and Pinnacle Foods Inc. PF . All these stocks carry the same rank as United Natural. You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

ConAgra has an expected earnings growth rate of 8%. Pinnacle Foods and Ingredion have an expected earnings growth rate of 11% and 8.3%, respectively.

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United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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