Feb 14 Campbell Soup Co, the world's
largest soup maker, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly
profit on strong soup sales, helped in part by cold weather and
a later Thanksgiving in the United States.
Campbell's shares rose as much as 7 percent after the
company also maintained its full-year sales forecast.
Campbell said a late Thanksgiving holiday last year pushed
shipments to retailers into the second quarter ended Jan. 26.
The company also said that while the severe winter weather
during the quarter helped soup sales grow, the recent storms
also led to lost sales as retailers shut shops and Campbell was
forced to close plants.
"We believe the weakness that Campbell and other food
companies experienced in January was partially related to the
extreme weather conditions, which dealt a blow to the U.S.
economy," Chief Executive Denise Morrison said on a
The company said soup consumption levels in the quarter were
below shipments leading to higher inventory levels at retailers
at the end of the second quarter.
Campbell has been facing stiff competition from
private-label brands and smaller rivals and has had trouble
attracting younger, more health conscious consumers to its
canned soup offerings.
The company said it expected its U.S. soup business to be
boosted this year due to eight new soups it launched last month,
including its first Latin-inspired cooking soups and new
varieties in its Healthy Request line.
Campbell maintained its full-year sales forecast of a 4-5
percent growth, which translates to sales of $8.37-$8.45
That is higher than analysts' average expectation of $8.34
billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Campbell's total sales rose 5.5 percent to $2.28 billion in
the quarter ended Jan. 26. U.S. Soup sales rose 5 percent.
Net profit attributable to the company rose to $325 million,
or $1.03 per share, from $190 million, or 60 cents per share, a
Excluding items, the company earned 76 cents per share from
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 73 cents per
share on revenue of $2.27 billion.
Campbell's shares were up 4 percent at $42.57 in morning
trading on the New York Stock Exchange. They touched a high of