Diamond Foods income jumps 28% in quarter

by Eric Schroeder
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STOCKTON, CALIF. — Diamond Foods, Inc. posted net income of $10,696,000, equal to 66c per share on the common stock, in the first quarter ended Oct. 31, up 28% from $8,342,000, or 52c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year.

Net sales for the quarter were $195,526,000, up 6% from $184,537,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales primarily were boosted by the addition of the Pop Secret microwave popcorn brand acquired from General Mills, Inc. in September.

"Our efforts to reduce costs and strengthen retail distribution by investing behind our brands helped us post strong results despite a difficult economic time," said Michael J. Mendes, president and chief executive officer. "Looking ahead, our brands are well positioned to benefit from changes in spending patterns as consumers prepare more meals at home or look for greater value in their food choices."

Sales in the North American Retail segment were $150,481,000 for the quarter, up 23% from $122,065,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Within the segment, snack sales rose 96% to $36,395,000 behind the addition of Pop Secret as well as growth from new products such as Cocoa Roast Almonds, Sea Salt & Pepper Cashews and Breakfast on the Go.

The company maintained its full-year 2009 guidance at between $585 million and $615 million for sales, with snack net sales of $175 million to $185 million. Earnings per share are expected to range between $1.20 to $1.27.

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