J.M. Smucker forecasts fiscal 2021 sales to decline up to 2%

(Reuters) - J.M. Smucker Co SJM.N on Thursday forecast full-year sales to decrease 1% to 2%, citing weakness in sales to restaurants and schools even as the Jif peanut butter maker beat estimates for fourth-quarter results.

Demand for packaged foods has seen an unprecedented spike in recent weeks, as shoppers in the United States continue to stockpile essentials, but it has come at the expense of sales to food service channels, hurt by months-long lockdowns.

“Stock-up purchasing in the fourth quarter is not anticipated to reoccur, and significant declines for the away from home business are expected to persist throughout the year,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Smucker said.

Smucker estimated a $120 million COVID-19-related hit to fiscal 2021 net sales.

The Orrville, Ohio-based company also forecast fiscal 2021 adjusted earnings per share to be between $7.90 and $8.30. The company earned $8.76 per share in fiscal 2020.

Excluding items, the company earned $2.57 per share in the fourth quarter ended April 30. Net sales rose 10% to $2.09 billion. Analysts were projecting a profit of $2.29 per share and sales of $2.06 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company’s shares fell 2% in pre-market trading.

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam; Editing by Uttaresh.V and Shounak Dasgupta