UPDATE 2-United Natural Q4 EPS edges past Street, sales miss

miércoles 9 de septiembre de 2009 18:26 CEST

* Q4 EPS $0.36 vs est $0.35

* Q4 sales $853.5 mln vs est $869.5 mln

* Sees 2010 EPS $1.48 to $1.58

* Sees 2010 cap-ex between $35 mln to $39 mln

* Shares fall 9 pct (Adds conference call details, analyst comments, share movement)

Sept 9 (Reuters) - Organic and natural foods distributor United Natural Foods Inc's (UNFI.O: Cotización) quarterly profit beat Wall Street expectations by a cent, helped by lower expenses, and forecast a 2010 profit range, whose lower end was below analysts' view.

Shares of the Dayville, Connecticut-based company were trading down 7 percent at $25.99 Wednesday afternoon on Nasdaq.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Edward Aaron said in a note that while profit beat expectations, the lack of a sales forecast -- which is uncharacteristic of the company -- and light sales could weigh on investor sentiment to some extent. "It will be a challenge to continually reduce expenses and grow gross margin while aggressively pursuing market share expansion and the development of new revenue streams," Chief Executive Steven Spinner said on a conference call.

The company sees 2010 profit between $1.48 and $1.58 a share, while analysts were looking for $1.55 a share.   Continuación...