Campbell Soup Co. issues profit warning

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 11th November 2010

US food group Campbell Soup Co. yesterday cut its full-year profit targets after a weak first quarter when its promotions did not pay off.

Campbell, part-way through the key season for soup sales, now expects annual EBIT to be “comparable” to last year, a downgrade from its previous target of a rise of 4-5%.

The soup maker, also owner of Australian iconic biscuit brand Arnotts, is now targeting a 2-4% increase in earnings per share, down from growth of 5-7%. It sees net sales rising by 1-3%, against growth of 2-3%.

“Our increased promotional spending in the first quarter behind US soup did not produce the planned volume gains. This result was due in part to even deeper soup promotions by competitors, which we chose not to match,” Campbell president and CEO Doug Conant.

Conant said competition was “intense” in the US soup category but added: “Over the balance of the year, we believe that revised promotional strategies and continued cost and expense initiatives will yield stronger results, especially in the second half of the year.”

Shares in Campbell were down 3.2% at US$34.90 at 09:53 ET. The company will publish its first-quarter results on 23 November.

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