Columbus food- and candle-maker Lancaster Colony saw profit and sales dip in its fiscal first quarter because of flat retail sales and higher promotional costs in a "challenging" environment.
Columbus food- and candle-maker Lancaster Colony saw profit and sales dip in its fiscal first quarter because of flat retail sales and higher promotional costs in a “challenging” environment.
The maker of Marzetti salad dressing and New York frozen garlic bread reported that net income fell 7 percent to $24.8 million, or 91 cents a diluted share, compared with the same quarter last year. Sales fell 2 percent to $286 million in the same period.
“While pleased with our overall market positioning, we saw our first quarter’s sales and results affected by a retail environment that remains challenged,” said CEO Jay Gerlach in a statement.
The company expects that additional investments in promotions of its refrigerated dressings, croutons and garlic toast should help boost sales, Gerlach said.
While food-service sales volumes helped buoy first-quarter results, it’s hard to be confident in consistent growth in the channel that supplies restaurants, which are seeing their own volume challenges, Gerlach told securities analysts during a conference call today.
Lancaster Colony continues to look for acquisitions of industry-leading food brands that complement its portfolio of salad dressing, crouton, vegetable dip, dinner roll and frozen garlic bread names, he said during the conference call.
The company also expects to release new products in its third or fourth fiscal quarters. Its shares were down more than 1 percent to $84.40 in mid-morning trading today.
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