US Foods joins Sysco in turning attention to retail


By Undercurrent News

March 23, 2020


The foodservice distribution giant US Foods Holding Corp. on Monday revealed that its strategies for dealing with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic include many of the same steps announced the same day by rival Sysco Corp. It is turning more of its focus to retail sales.


“While the full business impact of COVID-19 is not yet known, we are taking immediate action to reduce our costs to match the slowdown we’re seeing in restaurant, hospitality and education case volume," said Pietro Satriano, the Rosemont, Illinois-based company's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "We are also leveraging our supply chain resources to support the retail industry as they experience unprecedented increases in consumer demand."


The $28 billion company said it has secured new opportunities to support and sell to retail outlets, including grocery stores, and to contract some of its distribution workforce to companies experiencing increased demand.


US Foods said it has a "strong balance sheet [that] will enable it to weather the economic impact of COVID-19" but noted that it has proactively drawn $1bn from its existing revolving credit facilities to retain as cash on hand. The company said it has no debt maturing until fiscal 2022 and is actively working to explore additional financing opportunities if needed.


The distribution giant said it's taking "aggressive steps to reduce operating costs and strengthen its liquidity position by preserving cash", including: