Hill & Valley contributes to gains at J&J Snack

by Eric Schroeder
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Hill & Valley cookies, J&J Snack Foods
The acquisition of the Hill & Valley cookie brands contributed to better second-quarter sales at J&J Snack Foods.

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. — The acquisition of the Hill & Valley cookie brands contributed to better second-quarter sales at J&J Snack Foods Corp., but the brands delivered only a marginal benefit to the company’s operating income during the period, said Gerald B. Shreiber, president and chief executive officer of J&J Snack Foods.

Net income in the second quarter ended March 25 totaled $15,987,000, equal to 85c per share on the common stock, up narrowly from $15,588,000, or 84c per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales increased 7% to $246,513,000 from $229,710,000.

For the six months ended March 25, net income was $29,527,000, or $1.58 per share, up from $28,566,000, or $1.53 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales for the six months totaled $472,083,000, up 4% from $452,560,000.

Hill & Valley cupcakes, J&J Snack Foods
Hill & Valley makes a variety of pre-baked cakes, cookies, pies, muffins and other desserts for retail in-store bakeries.

In an April 25 conference call with analysts, Mr. Shreiber noted that the January acquisition of Rock Island, Ill.-based Hill & Valley reaffirms J&J Snack Foods’ strategy being a player in baking.

“Many years ago, 2003 to be exact, we bought a bankrupt company out of Connecticut with plants in Atlanta, called Country Home Bakers,” he explained. “We’ve continued to modify the way they were doing business, changed their production to go-to-store operation. And the Hill & Valley gives us an excellent vehicle there in the business.

Gerald Schreiber, J&J Snack Foods Corp.
Gerald B. Shreiber, president and c.e.o. of J&J Snack Foods

“They’re highly respected. They make a sugar-free cookie. They were part of a turnaround prior to us acquiring it. We don’t have to turn it around. We have good management in there that we expect them to have improved performances for 2017 and beyond. And it’s a niche.”

Hill & Valley makes a variety of pre-baked cakes, cookies, pies, muffins and other desserts for retail in-store bakeries. The company, which is one of the top producers of sugar-free and no-sugar-added pre-baked in-store bakery products, also is part of several strategic private labeling partnerships with retailers nationwide.

Superpretzel soft pretzels, J&J Snack Foods
J&J's soft pretzel sales increased to $42,993,000 from $42,834,000.

Overall, total food service operating income at J&J Snack Foods increased 6% in the second quarter to $19,636,000 from $18,520,000 in the same period a year ago. Within the food service division, sales of bakery products totaled $83,804,000, up 19% from $70,424,000 in the same period a year ago, while soft pretzel sales increased to $42,993,000 from $42,834,000, and churros increased to $14,719,000 from $13,697,000.

In the retail supermarket segment, total operating income totaled $24,111,000, up narrowly from $23,279,000. Within the retail supermarket division, sales of soft pretzels fell 6% to $9,186,000 from $9,735,000, handhelds dipped to $3,376,000 from $3,433,000, and frozen juices and teas increased to $13,191,000 from $12,907,000. 
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