ORRVILLE, OHIO — J.M. Smucker Co. capitalized on the increased demand created by the shift to elevated at-home consumption with a second consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth, led by gains in the Crisco, Uncrustables and Folgers brands.
Smucker net income in the first quarter ended July 31 was $237 million, or $2.08 per share on the common stock, up 53% from $154.6 million, or $1.36 per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. Adjusted earnings per share in the quarter were up 50% from the previous year.
Net sales were $1.97 billion, up 11% from $1.78 billion, driven by favorable volume/mix across all the company's retail businesses, supported by increased at-home consumption for the US Retail Coffee and US Retail Consumer Foods segments, partially offset by reduced volume/mix for the Away From Home business.
Following the strong first quarter, Smucker adjusted its full-year outlook for fiscal 2021. Guidance for adjusted earnings per share was raised to $8.20 to $8.60, up from an earlier forecast of $7.90 to $8.30, and the company’s sales were forecast to be flat to down 1%, versus previous guidance of down 1% to 2%.
In trading on the New York Stock Exchange Aug. 25 after the earnings announcement, J.M. Smucker shares soared, climbing as high as $123.37 in mid-morning trading, up more than 9% from the previous day’s close of $112.99.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has made the operating environment dynamic and challenging to predict,” Mark T. Smucker, chief executive officer, said during an Aug. 25 conference call with analysts. “We have built an organization well prepared to adapt to this period of rapid change, and our employees continue to execute at a high level, supporting an approximately $400 million year-over-year increase in net sales over the past two quarters, resulting in adjusted EPS growth over 30%.”
Mr. Smucker said the company is adapting brand-building activities to attract and retain new consumers across its entire portfolio. During the first quarter of fiscal 2021, key metrics for consumer purchasing behavior were positive, he said, with household penetration growth of over 1.6 million households versus the prior year, a nearly 150-basis-point improvement in repeat rate and a high single-digit increase in dollars per buyer.
“This means more consumers are purchasing our brands, they are repeating purchases at a higher rate and they are spending more than before,” he said.
In the company’s US Retail Consumer Foods segment, operating profit in the first quarter was $131.5 million, up 62% from $81 million last year. Net sales were $489.2 million, up 22% from.
“Sales for the Smucker's brand grew 25%, inclusive of strong growth for Uncrustables frozen sandwiches, fruit spreads and ice cream toppings,” said Tucker H. Marshall, chief financial officer. “Sales for the Jif brand grew 14%, including volume/mix growth related to refilling retailer shelves and increased at-home consumption, along with a reduction in promotional activity. Consumer foods segment profit increased 62% due to the benefit from increased volume/mix, higher net price realization and lower SG&A expense, partially due to the lapping of expenses included in the prior year related to the start-up of the new Uncrustables production facility.”
Segment profit for the US Retail Coffee business was $182.6 million, up 42% from $128.9 million in the first quarter last year. Sales were $570.9 million, up 23% from $465.7 million.
“Net sales increased 23% led by K-Cups, which grew over 40%,” Mr. Marshall said. “Growth occurred across all brands in the segment, including a 13% net sales increase for the Folgers brand, while the Dunkin' and Café Bustelo brands both continued their strong trends, growing 35% and 58%, respectively. Coffee segment profit increased 42%, primarily reflecting the favorable volume/mix.”
Mr. Smucker said the company has begun airing a new advertising campaign for Folgers with content relevant to the current environment focused on attracting new consumers. He said J.M. Smucker believes the current environment will translate into long-term structural changes in consumer behavior and continued growth opportunities for the company.
Operating profit in the US Retail Pet Foods business was $125.3 million, up 4.3% from $120.1 million in the same quarter in fiscal 2020. Sales increased 3.4% to $692.6 million.