Campbell Soup raises 2020 forecasts on strong sales in pandemic

Cans of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup are seen in a supermarket in New York.

Richard Levine | Corbis News | Getty Images

Campbell Soup raised its full-year profit and sales forecast on Wednesday after beating expectations for third-quarter results as consumers stocked up on soup, pasta sauces and salsa while they stayed at home during the pandemic.

Shares of the company, which have risen 5% this year, were up 2% in pre-market trading.

Demand for packaged foods saw a surge during the lockdowns, as shuttered restaurants and limited take-out options forced people to cook more at home.

The company saw a 6% increase in the number of households that bought its products during the quarter. It said it was working to hold on to these new consumers with increased marketing.

The maker of Prego pasta sauce and Goldfish crackers now expects fiscal 2020 adjusted earnings per share of $2.87 to $2.92, up from its prior range of $2.55 to $2.60.

The company also forecast fiscal 2020 net sales to grow 5.5% to 6.5%. Its previous forecast ranged from a 1% decline to a 1% increase.

Net sales rose about 15% to $2.24 billion in the third quarter, ended April 26, beating estimates of $2.22 billion, driven by higher demand for Prego pasta sauces, V8 drinks and Pepperidge Farm cookies.

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 83 cents per share, compared with analysts’ average expectation of 75 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

In its namesake soup business, U.S. quarterly sales rose 35 percent, but Campbell said its market share was hurt by problems getting the soup to shelves.

“Like everyone, we were and are operating in conditions unlike any we have ever experienced and we didn’t get everything perfect in regard to product availability,” Campbell said in a transcript of a presentation on its website.

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