PENNSAUKEN, N.J. — Strong performance across food service, retail supermarkets and frozen beverages helped boost third-quarter earnings at J&J Snack Foods Corp.
Net income at J&J Snack Foods in the quarter ended June 29 totaled $30,872,000, or $1.64 per share on the common stock, up 18% from $26,129,000, or $1.40 per share, in the previous year’s third quarter. Net sales increased 7% to $326,701,000 from $306,239,000.
Food service operating income at J&J Snack Foods rose 7.5% in the third quarter to $21,154,000 from $19,663,000. Sales increased 4% to $198,571,000 from $191,701,000. Within the food service division, sales of bakery products were $95,299,000, up 2% from $93,082,000 the previous quarter, while sales of churros rose 13% to $18,888,000, and sales of soft pretzels rose 4% to $55,867,000.
Commenting on the growth in churros during a July 30 conference call with analysts, Gerald B. Shreiber, president and chief executive officer, said, “A few years ago when we started talking about churros, people would say, ‘What is it?’ ... Now everybody seems to know what a churro is, and more and more customers and accounts are clamoring for the product. So we’ve experienced continuous growth with that product. And now we are in the double-digit growth across major chains and others.”
In the retail supermarket segment in the third quarter, operating income was $3,651,000, up 14% from $3,203,000 in the previous year’s third quarter. Sales fell 5% to $36,552,000 from $38,532,000. Within the retail supermarket segment, sales of soft pretzels fell to $7,294,000 from $7,332,000. Sales of frozen juices and teas slipped 8% to $26,515,000, and sales of handheld items rose 2% to $3,063,000.
In the frozen beverages segment, operating income in the first quarter rose 19% to $14,237,000, and sales increased 20% to $91,578,000.
Asked about the merger and acquisition environment, Mr. Shreiber said J&J Snack Foods is always on the lookout for a good, strategic fit.
“We’ve had a unique history of being able to find little dusty pellets in there and polishing them up,” he said. “As you are aware, these assets have sometimes become overpriced, and sometimes it is grossly overpriced. But we have enough faith and confidence in our abilities to find these pieces that maybe look dusty… and see how they fit in with us and what we could do with them. I would say that it’s not nearly as lucrative as it was perhaps five, six years ago, but nevertheless, we’re looking at specialty things.”
Companywide, net earnings for the nine-month period ended June 29 were $68,752,000, or $3.66 per share on the common stock, down 14% from $80,211,000, or $4.29 per share, in the same time of the previous year. Nine-month net sales increased 4% to $874,615,000 from $837,550,000.