Campbell Soup sees 'unprecedented demand' during coronavirus lockdowns

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Campbell Soup Co. saw “unprecedented demand” for products in the three months through June as customers loaded up on food and beverages while sheltering at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Camden, N.J.-based food products manufacturer earned $86 million, or an adjusted 63 cents per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter as net sales rose 18% to $2.11 billion. The results outpaced the 60 cents per share and $2.08 billion of revenue that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.

“This quarter concluded a year that furthered our strategic plan and solidified a significantly strengthened foundation that we will build upon going forward as we begin fiscal 2021,” CEO Mark Clouse said in a statement.

Sales from the meals and beverages unit, which includes soared 28% from a year ago, bolstered by an 18% jump in its U.S. retail business which includes soups, V8 beverages, Prego pasta sauces, and Campbell’s pasta. Soup sales, which saw an 11-point bump from an extra week, gained 52% in the U.S., helping offset weakness in food services.

Net snack sales, meanwhile, increased 11%, helped by the extra week, the sale of the company’s European chips business and foreign exchange. Excluding those items, net sales climbed 7% amid stronger demand for food purchases for in-home consumption, including Goldfish crackers and Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels.

For the full year, Campbell earned $1.63 billion as sales rose 7% year-over-year to $8.69 billion.

Looking ahead, Campbell sees first-quarter net sales up 5% to 7% from last year’s $2.18 billion. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to increase by 13% to 18% to between 88 cents and 92 cents.


Campbell shares were up 6.13% this year through Wednesday, trailing the S&P 500’s 11% gain.

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