Lakewood, CO—Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage has announced results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2021, and provided its outlook for fiscal 2022, according to a press release. Separately, the company announced that it is partnering with RangeMe, an online product sourcing platform, to streamline the search for innovative new products.

Highlights for Q4 2021 as compared to Q4 2020 include:
  • Net sales increased 3.2% to $272.6 million;
  • Daily average comparable store sales increased 2.5%, and 15.7% on a two-year stacked basis;
  • Net income increased 93.3% to $7.2 million;
  • Diluted earnings per share was $0.32, up from $0.16 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020;
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $17.8 million; and
  • The company opened one store and relocated/remodeled two stores, ending the quarter with 162 stores in 20 states.
Highlights for Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020:
  • Net sales increased 1.8% to $1.1 billion;
  • 18th consecutive year of positive comparable store sales growth;
  • Daily average comparable store sales increased 0.7%, and 12.7% on a two-year stacked basis;
  • Net income was $20.6 million, with diluted earnings per share of $0.91, up from $0.89 in fiscal 2020; and
  • Adjusted EBITDA was $60.3 million.
Looking to Fiscal 2022, Natural Grocers is expecting 4-6 new stores; 3-4 store relocations/remodels; 0% - 2% daily average comparable store sales growth; $0.75 to $0.87 diluted earnings per share; and $28-35 million in capital expenditures.

"Our fiscal 2021 performance resulted in a record $1.1 billion in net sales and $0.91 of diluted earnings per share," said Kemper Isely, Co-President, in the press release. "Fiscal 2021 was our eighteenth consecutive year of positive daily average comparable store sales growth. We finished the year with a strong fourth quarter. Diluted earnings per share was up 100% to $0.32, above our expectations. Daily average comparable store sales accelerated and gross margin improved, which we leveraged across a more normalized level of operating expense compared to last year.  An increase in transaction counts was slightly offset by a moderation in transaction size, however, the average basket has remained elevated as compared to the pre-pandemic level, up over 20% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019."

Isely continued: "Our commitment to our founding principles continues to drive our success, increasing engagement and loyalty across our growing customer base.  We believe our carefully vetted offering of natural and organic products continues to resonate with consumers, as they have developed a stronger appreciation for the value of healthy nutrition and dietary supplements as a result of the pandemic. Looking ahead to fiscal 2022, our competitive position remains strong with a differentiated and relevant model providing the highest quality, healthy foods at Always Affordable Prices."

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The RangeMe partnership is intended to help streamline the discovery process by getting products in front of Natural Grocers’ Standards team more efficiently, while eliminating the shipping of samples that do not meet the company’s quality criteria: Natural Grocers adheres to a list of ingredients that the company will not carry, including no hydrogenated oils, colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives.

"Our new partnership with RangeMe will help immensely in streamlining Natural Grocers' vendor submission program," explained Laura Perkins, Natural Grocers Vice President of Purchasing, in the press release. "The digitization of the process means that before samples are even sent we can quickly see which vendor submissions meet our high-quality standards. The efficiency this brings to our process helps save on shipping and packaging waste and allows the purchasing team time to focus on key items and categories that we are looking to expand. We are also excited about the possibilities RangeMe provides in connecting us with new brands and products."

Nicky Jackson, CEO and Founder of RangeMe, added: “Natural Grocers is deeply committed to the communities they serve, and providing those communities with the innovative, high-quality products they want is critical. They have high standards for their products across all departments, and with more than 200,000 suppliers on RangeMe, their buyers can connect with both emerging and established brands that meet those standards."