Campbell Soup sees 'unprecedented demand' during coronavirus lockdowns

Soup sales surged 52% in the US

Campbell Soup Co. saw “unprecedented demand” for products in the three months through June as customers loaded up on food and beverages while sheltering at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Camden, N.J.-based food products manufacturer earned $86 million, or an adjusted 63 cents per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter as net sales rose 18% to $2.11 billion. The results outpaced the 60 cents per share and $2.08 billion of revenue that Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting.

“This quarter concluded a year that furthered our strategic plan and solidified a significantly strengthened foundation that we will build upon going forward as we begin fiscal 2021,” CEO Mark Clouse said in a statement.

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Sales from the meals and beverages unit, which includes soared 28% from a year ago, bolstered by an 18% jump in its U.S. retail business which includes soups, V8 beverages, Prego pasta sauces, and Campbell’s pasta. Soup sales, which saw an 11-point bump from an extra week, gained 52% in the U.S., helping offset weakness in food services.

Net snack sales, meanwhile, increased 11%, helped by the extra week, the sale of the company’s European chips business and foreign exchange. Excluding those items, net sales climbed 7% amid stronger demand for food purchases for in-home consumption, including Goldfish crackers and Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
CPBCAMPBELL SOUP CO.48.59+0.56+1.18%

For the full year, Campbell earned $1.63 billion as sales rose 7% year-over-year to $8.69 billion.

Looking ahead, Campbell sees first-quarter net sales up 5% to 7% from last year’s $2.18 billion. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to increase by 13% to 18% to between 88 cents and 92 cents.

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Campbell shares were up 6.13% this year through Wednesday, trailing the S&P 500’s 11% gain.