Sysco (NYSE:SYY) reported a 10% decline in fourth-quarter earnings amid rising inflation in its dairy and poultry categories and much higher expenses, but still managed to top expectations on Monday as it streamlined operations as part of a years-long overhaul.
The world’s largest broadline food distributor reported net earnings of $283 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier profit of $309 million, or 53 cents.
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Excluding one-time restructuring costs, however, Houston-based Sysco said it earned 59 cents, topping average analyst estimates by five pennies.
Revenue for the three months ended June 29 was up 5% to $11.6 billion from $11 billion a year ago, narrowly below the Street’s view of $11.62 billion.
"Our financial results announced this morning fell short of our expectations as weak restaurant traffic continued to challenge many of our customers," Sysco CEO Bill DeLaney said in a statement. “We were unable to grow our gross profit at planned levels due in part to ongoing competitive pressures and a shift in customer mix.”
DeLaney called fiscal 2013 a “year of transition” for Sysco and said the company made progress on its multi-year turnaround. Looking toward the current fiscal year, it sees earnings performance “gradually” improving.
Shares of Sysco were down about 2.5% to $34.11 in early trade. They remain up about 21% year-to-date.