PENNSAUKEN, N.J. — Net income at J&J Snack Foods in the third quarter ended June 30 totaled $26,129,000, equal to $1.40 per share on the common stock, up 3% from $25,304,000, or $1.35 per share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. Net sales increased nearly 4% to $306,239,000 from $295,415,000.
Overall, total food service operating income at J&J Snack Foods decreased 11% in the third quarter to $19,663,000 from $22,005,000 in the same period a year ago. Sales, meanwhile, increased almost 5% to $191,701,000. Within the food service division, sales of bakery products totaled $93,082,000, up 4% from the same period a year ago, while soft pretzel sales increased 20% to $53,880,000, and churros decreased 5% to $16,739,000.
“Sales of our food service products were not as strong this quarter, although we continued to have strong sales growth of soft pretzels in restaurants and movie theaters and through our customer base,” Gerald B. Shreiber, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said during a July 31 conference call with analysts. “Sales of our new Brauhaus pretzels have been very encouraging. Bakery sales were up modestly this quarter. Handheld sales were up a strong 16% for the quarter as we have had strong increases to a few customers, existing and new.
“Churros sales were down 5% because sales of churros to a particular warehouse club store in last year’s quarter were discontinued. Frozen juice bar and ices sales were down 21% because of a loss of a promotion and distribution in warehouse club stores. Although funnel cake sales were down this quarter due to lower sales to restaurant chains, sales to schools continue to grow. They were up 40% this year.
“Overall sales to restaurant chains have been strong this year, while sales to schools have been down modestly.”
In the retail supermarket segment, operating income totaled $3,203,000, down 35% from $4,890,000 a year ago. Total sales in the retail supermarket segment were $38,532,000, nearly unchanged from $38,142,000 in the same period a year ago. Within the retail supermarket division, sales of soft pretzels decreased 2% to $7,332,000, frozen juices and ices increased 5% to $28,785,000, and handhelds fell 17% to $2,960,000.
“Soft pretzel sales in our retail supermarket were down 2% for the quarter, primarily because of increased trade spending,” Mr. Shreiber said. “Frozen novelty sales were strong as we rolled out a line of a licensed product, Sour Patch Kids Ice Pops. We are focused on reducing trade spending going forward. Sales in our Icee frozen beverage segment were up a modest 2% for the quarter.”
Robert J. Pape, senior vice-president of sales at J&J Snack, said the company still has a lot of room to grow on the innovation front. Additionally, he said the company sees growth potential in certain retail channels.
“On the food service side, our chain restaurant business and our national account certainly are areas where we still feel there is a huge amount of potential,” Mr. Pape said. “And then along the lines of our health care accounts, our convenience store channels, those are all areas where we feel that we have ample opportunity moving forward.”