Campbell Soup Facing Headwinds, Sales Slip

Food and Beverage Reuters

(Reuters)

Campbell Soup (CPB) the world's largest soupmaker, reported lower-than-expected quarterly sales on Friday, hurt by weak demand for its V8 beverages, broth and condensed soups.

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Shares declined on the results. 

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The company said revenue fell 1 percent in the Americas simple meals and beverages unit, Campbell's largest segment, which includes its namesake soup brand and Prego pasta sauces.

Sales from Campbell's fresh foods business, which accounted for about 12 percent of total revenue in the second quarter, fell 8 percent, as the company's effort to recover from a recall of certain protein drinks and a disappointing carrot harvest last year is taking longer-than-anticipated.

However, the company's sales of soup in the United States rose 1 percent in the quarter ended Jan. 29, helped by strong demand for its ready-to-serve soup brands, such as Chunky and the new Well Yes!, but was offset by declines in broth and condensed soups.

The company, which also sells Pepperidge Farm snacks, reported a 1.4 percent fall in net sales to $2.17 billion. Analysts on average had expected $2.22 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

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Net income attributable to Campbell fell to $101 million, or 33 cents per share, in the quarter, from $265 million, or 85 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company took a non-cash charge of $147 million to reduce the value of assets in its Bolthouse Farms' carrot business and a non-cash charge of $65 million in its fresh foods unit.

Excluding certain items, the company earned 91 cents per share, beating analysts' average estimate of 88 cents per share.

(Reporting by Gayathree Ganesan in Bengaluru; Editing by Martina D'Couto)