Natural Grocers Strong Q4 Performance Maintains 20-Year Run of Fiscal Success
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc., based in Colorado, experienced a notable 6.9% surge in same-store sales during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2023 compared to the previous year, underscoring the sustained consumer emphasis on health and wellness in their grocery choices. The natural and organic grocer reported a 7.6% increase in net sales, totaling $295.1 million, with adjusted EBITDA reaching $16.1 million for the quarter ending on September 30th. In response to these positive results, the board of directors declared a special cash dividend of $1.00 per common share, along with a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share.
Kemper Isely, Co-president of Natural Grocers, attributed the strong performance to the company’s distinctive business model and the team’s adaptability to industry dynamics. “Our founding principles, especially our commitment to offering only the highest quality natural and organic products at Always Affordable prices, resonate with consumers more than ever,” Isley said. The Lakewood, Colorado-based grocer achieved a net income of $5.9 million, with diluted earnings per share of $0.26. Other highlights from the fourth quarter included a daily average comparable-store sales growth of 6.9%, encompassing a 3.6% rise in the daily average transaction count and a 100 basis point improvement in gross margin.
“Our crews’ continued execution of operational and marketing initiatives culminated in our 20th consecutive year of positive sales comp and record earnings for the fiscal year,” Isley said. Looking ahead to fiscal 2024, Natural Grocers plans to maintain a focus on enhancing shareholder value by adhering to founding principles, leveraging its distinctive model, and driving profitable growth. During the fourth quarter, the company opened one new store and relocated/remodeled two stores, concluding the period with a total of 165 stores across 21 states. As part of its expansion strategy, Natural Grocers aims to open between six and eight new stores annually in the coming years. The fiscal 2024 outlook includes an anticipated daily average comparable-store sales growth ranging between 2% and 4%.