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Campbell Soup beats quarterly profit estimates on price hikes


(Reuters) -Campbell Soup beat Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit on Wednesday and maintained its annual forecasts, as the maker of Pepperidge Farm cookies benefited from multiple rounds of price increases.

Packaged food companies such as Campbell, Kraft Heinz and Kellogg Co have been hiking the prices of their meals, beverages and snacks to offset higher input costs stemming from supply chain snags and the Russia-Ukraine war.

Peer J M Smucker had forecast a smaller-than-expected decline in annual sales on the back of higher prices and steady demand for its products.

Campbell’s average selling price rose 12% in the quarter, but a 7% decline in total volumes signaled that Americans pressured by rising food prices were moving away to private-label products that are more affordable.

Its shares fell about 2% in volatile premarket trading.

The company maintained its annual net sales forecast for an 8.5% to 10% rise and adjusted profit expectations of $2.95 to $3.00 per share.

Campbell’s third-quarter gross profit margin was 30%, compared with 31.2% a year earlier, squeezed by still-high prices of commodities and freight as well as higher marketing expenses.

Excluding one-time items, the Goldfish crackers maker earned 68 cents per share in the quarter, beating analysts’ estimates of 64 cents per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

The company’s net sales rose 5% to $2.23 billion, in line with expectations.

(Reporting by Ananya Mariam Rajesh in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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