United 2006 sales up 6.3 percent


16 February 2007 — Deerfield (IL): United Stationers has reported net sales for the year ended December 31, 2006 of $4.5 billion, up 6.3 percent from $4.3 billion in the prior year. This increase has been attributed to strong growth in the jan/san supplies category.

Net income for 2006 was $132.2 million, an increase of 36 percent from $97.5 million in 2005. Diluted EPS were $4.21, up 45 percent on $2.90 in 2005.


Dick Gochnauer, president and CEO, said: "In 2006, we made considerable progress on many fronts. We improved our margin management capabilities and are positioning ourselves to take our War on Waste (WOW) to the next level. A workforce reduction was the first step in lowering our cost structure.


"We now are shifting our focus to process improvement activities that will help us increase efficiency throughout the business and improve customer satisfaction. Our goal is to remove $100 million in annual costs within five years. These actions will support United’s long-term financial objective of achieving 12 percent to 15 percent annual growth in earnings per share."


Net sales for Q4 were $1.1 billion, up 3.7 percent, compared with the same period last year. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2006 were $1.10, compared with $0.72 in the prior-year period.


Gochnauer said: "We are looking forward to achieving strong financial performance in 2007 and are off to a good start. Sales to date, on equivalent selling days, are trending up approximately 5.5 percent over the same time last year. Our long-term sales goal is to continue to grow faster than the overall industry growth rate."


He continued: "In 2007, we are focusing on six key value drivers that will help us reach important milestones: deliver profitable sales growth, drive out waste, grow our private brands, optimize our assets, leverage the potential of our Sweet Paper acquisition and enhance our marketing capabilities."