Kraft Foods revenue hurt by Oscar Mayer share loss
(Reuters) - Kraft Foods Group Inc (KRFT.O) said on Friday it expects to report a 10.7 percent decline in fourth-quarter revenue, saying it failed to adequately tailor some products, particularly its Oscar Mayer lunch meat, to meet consumer demand for lower-priced foods.
The news from Kraft comes on the heels of disappointing results from Mondelez International (MDLZ.O), which used to be combined with Kraft before the companies split late last year.
"We definitely stubbed our toe this quarter," Chief Executive Tony Vernon told analysts on a conference call. He said sales were hurt after rivals launched lower-priced items that Kraft did not match.
As an example, Vernon cited the differing performances of its Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and its Oscar Mayer lunch meat.
After a "formidable entry from a significant industry player" in the packaged macaroni and cheese business, Kraft stepped up with bonus packages, promotions, new products and increased advertising. It saw macaroni and cheese sales grow 11 percent.
On the other hand, Vernon said, the company's Oscar Mayer lunch meat brand stood by and watched as it experienced a "major share loss in the fourth quarter" to a new value-priced offering from a competitor.
"In hindsight I regret not responding on cold cuts exactly the way we responded on mac & cheese," Vernon said.
Kraft said it now expects full-year 2013 earnings of about $2.75 per share, up from a previous forecast of $2.60 per share.
The company expects fourth-quarter earnings of about 15 cents per share, including a one-time, non-cash charge of about 24 cents for post-employment benefits, 14 cents of restructuring charges, and a charge of 4 cents related to hedging activities.
The company plans to issue final 2012 results by March 29.
Shares were up 0.3 percent in morning trading.
(Reporting By Siddharth Cavale in Bangalore and Martinne Geller in New York; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal, John Wallace and Steve Orlofsky)
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