Campbell baking unit steady on Pepperidge strength

by Eric Schroeder
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CAMDEN, N.J. — Operating earnings within the Baking and Snacking division of the Campbell Soup Co. were flat in the first quarter ended Oct. 31, finishing at $100 million, the same as in the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Campbell said the favorable impact of currency and higher earnings in Pepperidge Farm were offset by lower earnings in Australia.

Sales rose 3% to $544 million, which compared with $530 million in the same period last year.

“Sales of Pepperidge Farm were comparable to a year ago, as volume gains were offset by increased promotional spending,” Campbell said. “Sales from the bakery business declined, reflecting lower sales of stuffing and artisan bread, partly offset by gains associated with the successful expansion of the Deli Flats line.
“In the cookies and crackers business, sales increased driven by solid gains in Goldfish snack crackers and Baked Naturals crackers, while sales of cookies were comparable to a year ago.”

Campbell said sales in Australia increased behind currency. Excluding currency, Arnott’s sales were comparable to a year ago, as strong gains in Shapes and Vita-Wheat savory crackers were offset by declines in chocolate and other sweet biscuit products.

Overall, Campbell Soup Co. posted earnings of $279 million in the first quarter, equal to 82c per share on the common stock, down 8% from $304 million, or 87c per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales were $2,172 million, down from $2,203 million.

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