David Smith, president and CEO of Associated Wholesale Grocers, expressed confidence about AWG's 2018 results at the annual shareholders meeting. ( Associated Wholesale Grocers )

Kansas City, Kan.-based Associated Wholesale Grocers reported consolidated net sales on continuing operations of $9.7 billion and distributed $210.5 million in year-end patronage at its annual shareholders meeting — both record amounts, per the company.

“Despite the challenges of an intensely competitive retail environment, the impact of disruptive technology and the workforce squeeze, AWG experienced another strong year of performance and growth,” president and CEO David Smith said in a news release.

AWG reported cooperative sales of $8.59 billion, up $110 million from 2017. In total, AWG’s distribution to shareholders of cooperative benefits including interest, allowances and patronage was $558.7 million.

Total members’ investment and equity was valued at $556.2 million at the end of 2018, an all-time record, per the release.

Along with the meeting, AWG held its second Innovation Showcase, which featured more than 160 solutions for grocers and more than 50 educational workshops.

“In challenging times, as an independent grocer, I believe that it’s vitally important to be a part of something larger and stronger

than ourselves, that has the products, tools, resources and support to remain relevant and successful,” chairman of the board Barry Queen said in the release. “AWG is owned by its grocers, led by grocers and focused on the success of its grocers. I’m proud to be a part of this cooperative and proud to see the continued fine results that we can deliver for the benefit of our retailer-members.

“It gives me and my family the confidence to stay in the fight,” Queen said. “I feel good about where we are going.”