Campbell Soup Posts Disappointing Annual Forecast

Campbell Soup Co., facing sluggish consumer spending and shrinking demand for soup, provided a 2015 profit forecast that was less than analysts had estimated, sending the shares down the most in five weeks.

Excluding items some items, earnings will be $2.45 to $2.50 a share, the Camden, New Jersey-based company said in a statement today. That was less than the $2.58 average of analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The shares fell 2.6 percent to close at $43.39, their biggest one-day drop since July 31.

Campbell has struggled to rekindle Americans’ appetite for soup, with sales of ready-to-serve varieties decreasing 8 percent in the quarter ended Aug. 3. Excluding some items, earnings amounted to 49 cents a share last quarter, matching analysts’ estimates. The company has been working to cut costs by closing plants and eliminating jobs.

While Campbell is making progress, the turnaround “is taking longer than originally anticipated,” Chief Executive Officer Denise Morrison said in the statement. “We plan to deliver modest growth in fiscal 2015, despite a consumer environment that is likely to remain challenging.”

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