PENNSAUKEN, NJ. — J&J Snack Foods Corp. is beginning to benefit from an economy that is moving closer to pre-COVID activities, said Daniel Fachner, president and chief executive officer, during a July 27 call with analysts to discuss third-quarter results.

“Consumers are embracing the opportunities they missed over this past year, whether that is enjoying a Superpretzel at the game or sipping an ICEE at the beach with their family,” he said.

Net income at J&J Snack Foods in the third quarter ended June 26 totaled $28.9 million, equal to $1.51 per share on the common stock, compared to a loss of $12.6 million, or 67¢ per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales increased 51% to $324.3 million from $214.6 million.

The company saw improvements across its foodservice and retail segments, as well as its frozen beverage segment, led by its core soft pretzels, churros, ICEE and frozen novelty product categories. The foodservice and retail segments returned to pre-COVID sales volume, beating fiscal 2019 sales by 1% and 30%, respectively.

Foodservice operating income was $17.64 million in the third quarter, with sales increasing 68% to $196.48 million. Within the foodservice division, sales of bakery products increased 24% to $85.71 million, and sales of soft pretzels increased 138% to $50.9 million. Sales of handhelds increased 155% to $18.97 million, and sales of churros increased 174% to $20.1 million.

“Sales accelerated through our key channels, led by schools, amusement and recreation, restaurants and C-stores,” Mr. Fachner said.  

Consumers spending more in many of those venues drove improved average ticket sales, he added.

“The amusement park channel is really strong,” he said. “Where we’re selling in the amusement parks, the per ticket price is up. Where we’re selling in theaters, the per-ticket price is up. And even in ballparks as they come back, we’re seeing that average ticket price is up.”

In the retail supermarket segment, operating income increased 15% to $9.08 million from $7.91 million. Sales were $57.5 million, down 6% from the same period a year ago.

“Sales for the quarter were 30% better than the same quarter of 2019, which is probably a better comparison of true performance,” Mr. Fachner said.

Within the retail supermarket segment, sales of soft pretzels fell 12% to $11.19 million. Sales of biscuits fell 44% to $36.9 million, and sales of handheld items fell 63% to $1.19 million.

In the frozen beverages segment, operating income was $11.42 million, which compared with a loss of $9.09 million in the same period a year ago. Sales increased 83% to $74.01 million but remained slightly below pre-COVID 2019 levels.

Within the frozen beverages segment, the amusement park channel experienced sales above pre-COVID 2019 levels. Mass merchandisers and QSRs also saw a significant increase in traffic. The theater channel improved from previous quarters but still lagged behind 2019 sales by more than 50%.

“Most of all the other channels have come back to normal levels for us,” Mr. Fachner said. “The biggest piece that we're waiting on is the theater business.”