J.M. Smucker shares slide on revised outlook

by Eric Schroeder
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ORRVILLE, OHIO — Shares of J.M. Smucker Co. slid more than 5% in premarket trading on Nov. 12 after the Orrville-based company announced it expects second-quarter net sales to fall. The company also lowered its full-year profit outlook.

J.M. Smucker now expects second-quarter net sales to decrease 5% in fiscal 2015, compared with 2014. Income per diluted share excluding certain items affecting comparability is expected to be $1.53 for the second quarter of 2015, on par with 2014. Net income per diluted share is expected to be $1.55 for the second quarter of 2015, compared with $1.46 for the second quarter of 2014.

The company said results were affected significantly by volume declines in its U.S. Retail Coffee segment, where coffee segment volume and net sales in the second quarter of 2015 are expected to reflect a decrease of approximately 18% and 10%, respectively, compared with 2014. A 20% decrease in volume for the company’s Folgers brand was largely to blame, J.M. Smucker said, due primarily to consumer response to higher promoted price points for its roast and ground coffee offerings in the second quarter as compared with the first quarter of this fiscal year. Increased pricing was driven by higher green coffee costs.

The company said reduced promotional effectiveness and competitive activity also contributed to the declines. Segment profit is expected to decrease 16% for the U.S. Retail Coffee segment during the second quarter of 2015, compared with 2014.

“Our second quarter fell short of expectations primarily driven by our coffee business,” said Richard Smucker, chief executive officer. “Our rapid ascent of coffee prices to reflect higher green coffee costs took its toll on volume. The balance of our businesses performed well. As we move into the second half, we anticipate overall coffee volume trends will improve compared to our second quarter, but the pricing impact of higher green coffee costs will continue through the remainder of the fiscal year. Looking forward, we do not believe there has been a fundamental change to the at-home coffee category. However, our teams will continue to focus on tactical opportunities to address the current market environment.”

J.M. Smucker also updated its full-year outlook. The company now expects net sales to decrease approximately 1% in the year ending April 30, 2015, compared with 2014. Income per diluted share excluding certain items affecting comparability is expected to be in the range of $5.45 to $5.65. The company previously projected net sales growth of 3% to 4%, compared with 2014, and income per diluted share excluding certain items affecting comparability to be in the range of $5.95 to $6.05.

“The updated outlook reflects the company’s revised expectations for its U.S. Retail Coffee segment in fiscal 2015, including lower volume and an unfavorable relationship between price realization and green coffee costs during the last six months of fiscal 2015, compared to the same period a year ago,” J.M. Smucker said. Meanwhile, the company’s U.S. Retail Consumer Foods and International, Foodservice, and Natural Foods segments currently remain on track to achieve full-year segment profit growth, generally in-line with prior expectations.

J.M. Smucker will release its second-quarter results on Nov. 19.
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