Campbell Soup Co. reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Monday but left its full-year forecast unchanged as it continues trying to turn around its North American soup business.
Campbell has endured several winters of weak soup sales, hurt by heavy discounting and increased competition with other simple meals. Its chief executive, Denise Morrison, has pledged to stabilize and then grow the business by introducing new products and reinvigorating its advertising.
"Although overall sales trends are improving, we are not satisfied with our performance this quarter," said Morrison, who took the top job last summer. "We executed well in some businesses ... we did not execute as well in others."
Net income was $177 million, or 55 cents per share, for the fiscal third quarter ended April 29, down from $187 million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, earnings were 56 cents per share, topping analysts' average estimate of 52 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company benefited from a lower tax rate, and a decline in shares outstanding boosted per-share earnings.
Net sales rose 0.4 percent to $1.82 billion, topping analysts' average estimate of $1.81 billion.
The company affirmed its full-year forecast for earnings per share of $2.35 to $2.42, adjusted for one-time items, and net sales ranging from flat to up 2 percent. But it said sales should be near the lower end of the range, while earnings should be near the upper end, helped by a favorable tax rate.
Campbell shares were down a penny at $33.39 in premarket trading.
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