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United Natural's 3Q profit up 9 percent

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- United Natural Foods Inc.'s fiscal third-quarter net income jumped nearly 9 percent on strong demand for its natural and organic products.

The company, based in Providence, R.I., distributes natural, organic and specialty foods and products.

United Natural said Tuesday that it earned $31.6 million, or 64 cents per share, for the three months that ended April 27. That is compared with $29 million, or 59 cents per share, a year earlier. Its total revenue increased nearly 13 percent to $1.57 billion from $1.39 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating that the company would earn 64 cents per share on revenue of $1.56 billion.

United Natural said that its profit margins for the quarter fell slightly from last year because of a shift in customers toward traditional supermarkets and an increase in freight expenses.

United Natural narrowed its 2013 earnings forecast to a range of $2.12 to $2.14 per share for the year, or $2.15 to $2.17 per share on an adjusted basis. That compares with its prior forecast of $2.12 to $2.18 per share.

The company raised its revenue forecast for the 2013 fiscal year. It now expects revenue between $6.03 billion and $6.06 billion, up from its previous forecast of $5.88 billion to $5.98 billion.

Analysts had forecast earnings of $2.19 per share for the year on revenue of $5.98 billion.

Shares of the company increased 16 cents in after-hours trading to reach $55.80 on the news. Its stock added 74 cents to close regular trading at $55.64.