Campbell Soup (NYSE:CPB) reported that it earned $177 million during the first quarter, down 5% from $187 million during the same time last year. Adjusted EPS for the quarter was 56 cents, which exceeded analysts’ prediction of 52 cents, the Associated Press noted.
The soup maker reiterated its estimate that EPS for 2012 would decline between 5% and 7% compared to 2011. That would translate to earnings in a range of $2.35 to $2.42 per share for the year.
Investors were not pleased. Campbell’s shares fell more than 4% during Monday midday trading.
First-quarter revenue increased marginally to $1.821 billion, against $1.813 billion last year, beating Wall Street, which had predicted $1.818 billion.
The company’s gross profit margin slid from 40.4% last year to 38.8% during the first quarter due to rising commodity costs.
U.S. sales fell 3% compared to a year ago, driven by a decline in Campbell’s condensed soups, while Prego pasta sauce sales increased by 3%. The company’s baked-goods unit saw sales increase 3% to $534 million.
Beverage sales rose 5% as consumers purchased more V8 Splash and V-Fusion drinks.
Campbell’s noted that it had been forced to increase prices and promotional costs during the quarter and remained “unhappy” with falling soup sales in the U.S.