The company behind brands such as TurboChef, Viking, and Bakers Pride saw net sales fall 7% to $729 million. Adjusted earnings declined from $1.96 to $1.62 per diluted share. Your average analyst had expected far deeper drops with earnings of roughly $1.41 per share on top-line sales near $695 million. Middleby's order backlog stood at a record $523 million by the end of the fiscal year, up from $308 million one year earlier.
All three of Middleby's operating segments reported significant revenue growth compared to the third quarter, led by an 18% sales jump in residential kitchen products and 15% higher revenue from commercial food service.
"Restaurants continue to gain experience and proficiency as they perfect their procedures for delivery, carry out, drive-through and curbside pickup," said Middleby CEO Tim FitzGerald. "Our virtual sales experience and showroom tours have been in high demand."
The company also opened a 40,000 square-foot product demonstration facility in Dallas last week, where prospective customers can experience and evaluate many of Middleby's product lines in a live setting.
"We believe the timing is right for this type of facility as customers want a hands-on experience as they reinvent their food service operations," FitzGerald said.
The lower sales and earnings might not impress you much but the company is springing back from the COVID-19 crisis with a vengeance and a sensational backlog of unfilled orders. Middleby is trading at fresh all-time highs today, having gained 29% over the last year and bouncing back with a 287% return from last April's market bottom.