Business

Campbell Soup warns of slowing sales as COVID crisis wanes


Campbell Soup said it expects slower sales this year as consumers emerge from lockdowns and head back to restaurants with the ebbing of the coronavirus crisis.

Shares of the company dropped more than 4 percent in early morning trading even it said sales in its fiscal second quarter ended Jan. 1 rose 5 percent to $2.3 billion as consumers continued to load up on prepared foods amid the pandemic.

Looking ahead, the giant packaged foods company said it expects a net sales decrease of 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent and an adjusted earnings per share of $3.03 to $3.11 in 2021.

The maker of V-8 juice, Prego pasta and sauces, Kettle Brand potato chips, Snyder and Lance pretzels and crackers is still bullish prepared foods, chief executive Mark Clouse said.

“No matter where you stand on the retention of new households gained during the pandemic, it is indisputable that Campbell’s business … is coming out of this period more advantaged and with renewed relevance,” Clouse said in a Wednesday statement.

Earlier in the pandemic packaged foods companies could barely keep up with demand for their products. About 70 percent of people who bought the company’s products once during the pandemic have continued to purchase its foods, Clouse added.

But a slow down has already begun. In the quarter ended Nov. 1 the company’s sales increased by 21 percent but that was less than half the increase of the three prior months in 2020.


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