Campbell Soup hurt by high carrot costs, falling sales

Wisconsin State Farmer

NEW YORK (AP) — Campbell Soup reported disappointing first-quarter earnings and revenue Tuesday, hurt by the higher cost of carrots and sinking sales of its broth and canned soup.

The company also lowered its earnings expectations for the year, and its shares sank nearly 9 percent.

Higher carrot prices and falling sales are hurting the bottom line for soup-manufacturing giant Campbell's Soup.

Campbell Soup, which sells fresh carrots through its Bolthouse Farms brand, said weather issues in California affected the carrot crop and caused costs to rise.

Meanwhile, soup and broth sales in the U.S. fell 9 percent in the quarter. Broth sales were especially hurt by competition from private-label store brands that make broths, the company said.

"This was a difficult quarter, particularly for our U.S. soup business," said CEO Denise Morrison.

The company reported net income of $275 million, or 91 cents per share, in the three months ending Oct. 29. Adjusted earnings came to 92 cents per share, falling short of the 97 cents per share, according to Zacks Investment Research.

The Camden, New Jersey-based company posted revenue of $2.16 billion in the period, missing forecasts of $2.18 billion.

Campbell Soup said it now expects full-year earnings between $2.95 and $3.02 per share, down from its previous forecast of between $3.04 and $3.11 per share. Shares of Campbell Soup Co. fell $4.40 to $45.53 in afternoon trading Tuesday.