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Kraft Heinz Reports Weak Sales as New CEO Looks for Solutions

By John Ballard - Feb 13, 2020 at 10:20AM

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The food giant has a lot on its plate in the short term.

Kraft Heinz (KHC -0.47%) reported its fourth-quarter earnings results on Thursday, which showed weak business performance across the board. Organic net sales were down 2.2% year over year, while adjusted earnings declined by 14.3%. The U.S., Canada, and Rest of World regions saw a decrease in organic sales, while Europe, Middle East, and Africa reported a small increase of 0.3%. 

In a statement, CEO Miguel Patricio said, "While our 2019 results were disappointing, we closed the year with performance consistent with our expectations and driven by factors we anticipated." 

A woman deciding what to buy at a grocery store.

Image source: Getty Images.

New CEO aims to fix the problem

Patricio was brought in as CEO last year to find a pathway back to growth for the food giant. In addition to operating struggles, Kraft Heinz and other consumer staples companies have been dealing with the cloud of shifting consumer preferences in recent years. 

Despite those issues, Patricio believes they are making progress in turning the ship around. "We have taken critical actions over the past six months to reestablish visibility and control over the business," he noted. "And we remain convinced Kraft Heinz has the potential to achieve best-in-class financial performance as we begin transforming our capabilities and making necessary investments in our brands based on deep consumer insights." 

But the fix won't come overnight

During the third-quarter earnings report, management laid out their near-term plan, which calls for optimizing marketing spend, shifting innovation to the products with the best returns, and cutting costs, among other things. 

Kraft Heinz has many challenges. "Our turnaround will take time," as Patricio explained, "But we expect to make significant progress in 2020, laying a strong foundation for future growth." 

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