Lancaster Colony earnings, sales ease in quarter

by Eric Schroeder
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COLUMBUS, OHIO — Net income at Lancaster Colony Corp. fell 13% during the second quarter ended Dec. 31, 2011. For the quarter, income totaled $30,373,000, equal to $1.11 per share on the common stock, down from $34,863,000, or $1.25 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales totaled $311,786,000, down 1.5% from $316,238,000.

For the six months ended Dec. 31 net income was $51,631,000, or $1.89 per share, down 10% from $57,630,000, or $3.06 per share, in the same period a year ago. Sales were $586,302,000, up 1% from $581,289,000.

Operating income within Lancaster’s Specialty Foods segment fell 13% during the second quarter to $44,750,000, while sales in the division increased 5% to $266,225,000 from $254,591,000. For the six months, operating income in the segment fell 11% to $79,949,000, while sales rose 6% to $503,172,000.

“We believe that Specialty Foods sales and operating results should benefit from pricing actions taken this month on many retail products,” said John B. Gerlach Jr., chairman and chief executive officer. “Recently introduced products such as our New York Brand Hand-Tied Garlic Knots and Sister Schubert’s Soft Pretzel Rolls should also help sales.

“Should commodity costs stabilize near current levels, our recent unfavorable cost comparisons will become progressively less pronounced over the remainder of the fiscal year. Key uncertainties are consumer reaction to higher pricing and broad, persistent economic challenges.”

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