Zacks Investment Research cut shares of United Natural Foods Inc. (NASDAQ:UNFI) from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note issued to investors on Thursday morning.

According to Zacks, “United Natural posted better-than-expected fourth quarter fiscal 2016 results, but remains cautious due to industry-wide weakness and declining gross margin. While net sales increased 7.4% year over year, driven by acquisitions, earnings of $0.70 per share declined 2.8% in the fourth quarter due to operating income margins. Gross margin expanded in the quarter, but continued to remain challenging due to competitive pricing pressure, moderated supplier promotional activity, and a reduction in fuel surcharges. Overall, we are impressed with the company’s focus on its acquisition strategies, efforts to increase its market share and improve operational efficiency. However, gross margin headwinds continue to remain a concern. Further, the company will face the pressure from food deflation, stiff competition, aggressive promotional environment and waning store traffic.”

Several other research firms also recently issued reports on UNFI. Deutsche Bank AG restated a hold rating on shares of United Natural Foods in a report on Saturday, June 4th. Vetr downgraded United Natural Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating and set a $37.14 price objective on the stock. in a report on Monday, May 30th. Morgan Stanley restated a sell rating on shares of United Natural Foods in a report on Monday, June 6th. Oppenheimer Holdings Inc. restated a hold rating on shares of United Natural Foods in a report on Tuesday, June 7th. Finally, Standpoint Research downgraded United Natural Foods from a buy rating to a hold rating in a report on Tuesday, June 7th. Six research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, thirteen have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. United Natural Foods presently has an average rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $44.48.

Shares of United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) opened at 39.31 on Thursday. United Natural Foods has a 52-week low of $29.75 and a 52-week high of $55.69. The company has a 50 day moving average of $46.08 and a 200 day moving average of $42.00. The firm has a market capitalization of $1.98 billion, a PE ratio of 15.72 and a beta of 1.03.

United Natural Foods (NASDAQ:UNFI) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Monday, September 12th. The company reported $0.70 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $0.63 by $0.07. United Natural Foods had a net margin of 1.48% and a return on equity of 8.85%. The firm had revenue of $2.21 billion for the quarter. During the same quarter last year, the firm posted $0.72 earnings per share. United Natural Foods’s revenue was up 7.4% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, analysts anticipate that United Natural Foods will post $2.62 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Several large investors have recently bought and sold shares of UNFI. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 1.4% in the second quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services Inc now owns 5,457 shares of the company’s stock valued at $255,000 after buying an additional 73 shares in the last quarter. M&T Bank Corp boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 1.2% in the first quarter. M&T Bank Corp now owns 6,179 shares of the company’s stock valued at $249,000 after buying an additional 76 shares in the last quarter. Arizona State Retirement System boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 0.4% in the first quarter. Arizona State Retirement System now owns 23,964 shares of the company’s stock valued at $966,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 0.5% in the second quarter. State Treasurer State of Michigan now owns 20,200 shares of the company’s stock valued at $945,000 after buying an additional 100 shares in the last quarter. Finally, AGF Investments Inc. boosted its stake in United Natural Foods by 4.4% in the second quarter. AGF Investments Inc. now owns 3,768 shares of the company’s stock valued at $176,000 after buying an additional 160 shares in the last quarter. 98.13% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

United Natural Foods Company Profile

United Natural Foods, Inc is a distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and non-food products in the United States and Canada. It offers products, in six product categories: grocery and general merchandise, produce, perishables and frozen foods, nutritional supplements and sports nutrition, bulk and food service products and personal care items.

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