Campbell Soup shares fall despite strong earnings, sales

Business

FILE – This May 23, 2017, file photo shows a variety of Campbell’s soups in a grocery cart at a store in Phoenix. Campbell Soup reported strong fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020 boosted by people making more food at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Campbell Soup reported strong fiscal fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, boosted by people making more food at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But its stock fell as it cited the difficulty of predicting how the pandemic-driven demand for its products will hold up.

The Camden, New Jersey-based snack and soup giant on Thursday reported adjusted earnings per share of 63 cents for the three-month period that ended Aug. 2, a 50% increase over the same period last year.

That beat Wall Street projections of 60 cents per share, as did its net sales of $2.1 billion, which were 18% higher than last year’s quarter. The company noted that fiscal 2020 had an extra week which fell in the fourth quarter, somewhat skewing the results.

Campbell said its snack division — which includes Pepperidge Farm cookies and Goldfish crackers — saw a 7% jump in sales after accounting for the extra week and other factors.

For the full fiscal year 2020, Campbell said net sales increased 7% over the previous year and that adjusted earnings per share jumped 28% to $2.95 per share.

Campbell released guidance only for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 due to economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. The company said its expectation of a 5% to 7% increase in first quarter net sales over the previous year “assumes that the company’s supply chain operates effectively during this period of heightened demand and shifts in consumer behavior toward at-home consumption continue.”

Shares in Campbell Soup Co. fell 7.5% to close Thursday at $48.53.

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