Is J.M. Smucker
Smucker reported fiscal third-quarter net income of $31.3 million, or $0.62 per share, as compared to $28.0 million, or $0.50 per share, in the same quarter one year ago. Sales rose 4.2% to $355.3 million.
Back in August, Smucker's second quarter boasted impressive numbers for its Jif and Crisco brands. (The company snapped these up from Procter & Gamble
However, the acquisition of Jif and Crisco was still in its infancy, and part of the quarterly gain was a comparison to a year-ago quarter that didn't fully reflect the brands' addition.
For the current quarter, Jif and Crisco together delivered a 5% boost in sales. Jif sales increased 7% by volume, but were flat in terms of dollar sales, due to a price decrease for the peanut butter spread enacted a year ago. It seems likely this was an aggressive move to steal market share from Unilever's
On the other hand, anyone who was wondering about the prospects for Crisco shortening, given the healthy eating trend, might have found some comfort in the company's plans. Among them include a transfat-free version of Crisco, a 100% corn oil variety, as well as corn and olive oil sprays. Crisco sales were up 7%; according to regulatory filings, a price hike for Crisco products was in the works for Jan. 2004.
Smucker's extolled a more positive outlook for the fourth quarter and the year, due to its "Fall Bake" season. Since the third quarter ended in October, the holiday season and its attendant baking will probably be a boon to the company. Smucker's said it expects to exceed its previous 2004 guidance for earnings of $109 million to $111 million, or $2.17 to $2.22 per share.
Maybe shares drooped because of the skyrocketing sales displayed in the second quarter, which only reflected the full impact of new and popular products. Now things have come back to reality, and there's nothing wrong with that. Watch for signs the company's losing market share, but for now, PB&J is still a classic.
Is peanut butter and jelly still a favorite with kids? What about Smucker's Uncrustables -- great idea or a dud? Talk about trends in eating with other Fools on the Food discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.