Soft pretzel sales lift earnings at J&J Snack

by Eric Schroeder
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Brauhaus brand provides boost in quarter.
 
 

PENNSAUKEN, N.J. — Soft pretzel sales in both the food service and retail markets contributed to strong earnings and sales at J&J Snack Foods Corp. in the first quarter of fiscal 2018.

Net income in the first quarter ended Dec. 30, 2017, totaled $36,249,000, equal to $1.94 per share on the common stock, up 167% from $13,540,000, or 72c per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2017. Net sales increased 18% to $265,210,000 from $225,570,000.

Overall, total food service operating income at J&J Snack Foods decreased 7% in the first quarter to $15,900,000 from $17,054,000 in the same period a year ago. Within the food service division, sales of bakery products totaled $94,933,000, up 26% from the same period a year ago, while soft pretzel sales increased 21% to $50,131,000, and churros increased 1% to $14,592,000.

“Sales of our food service products improved this quarter with significant increased sales of soft pretzels in restaurants and movie theaters, funnel cakes in schools and handhelds to a handful of customers,” Gerald B. Shreiber, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said during a Jan. 30 conference call with analysts. “Bakery sales, without Hill & Valley, were essentially flat this quarter as sales to private label businesses leveled off and sales to schools were down in the quarter. Sales of our new Brauhaus pretzel have been very encouraging.”

In the retail supermarket segment, total operating income totaled $2,558,000, up 145% from $1,046,000 a year ago. Within the retail supermarket division, sales of soft pretzels increased 18% to $10,512,000, handhelds dipped 12% to $3,026,000, and frozen juices and teas decreased 1% to $9,727,000.

“Soft pretzel sales in our grocery and supermarket segment were up a strong 18% for the quarter, primarily because of continued increase of sales and the recently licensed Auntie Anne’s pretzels,” Mr. Shreiber said. “Operating income was up very strong, $1.5 million, because of the increased soft pretzel sales and because we reduced media spending and couponing, primarily related to Oreo Churros and Pillsbury dessert products. These products have not performed as well as we had projected.”
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