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The Omaha, Neb.-based packaged-food company reported earnings of 47 a share, excluding items, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of 43 cents.
The results were led by a 16% increase in commercial food sales to $2.18 billion, a reflection of high volumes and pricing actions necessary to cover increased input costs. Consumer food sales grew 4%.
Despite the strong results, the company warned that it remains cautious about business conditions, saying the marketplace environment “remains difficult due to continuing inflationary pressures and the impact of the current economy on consumers.”
The company, which recently acquired National Pretzel Company, still affirmed its full-year outlook, saying 2012 earnings should grow at a low- to mid-single-digit percentage rate from the $1.75 a share it earned last year.