J. M. Smucker Co. Reports 1 Percent Net Sales Decline For 2014 First Quarter

The J. M. Smucker Co. announced results for the first quarter ended July 31, 2013, of its 2014 fiscal year. First quarter net sales decreased 1 percent in 2014, compared to 2013, reflecting price declines taken over the past twelve months. Overall volume increased 1 percent for the same period driven by increases of 4 percent in both the U.S. Retail Coffee and U.S. Retail Consumer Foods segments.
For the company, operating income, excluding the impact of restructuring, merger and integration, and certain pension settlement costs, increased 1 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 2013. The increase over the prior year's first quarter included the unfavorable impact of a $15.1 million change in unrealized mark-to-market gains on derivative contracts discussed later in this release.
Income excluding special project costs increased 2 percent in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 2013, reflecting a slight decrease in the effective tax rate.
First quarter income per diluted share, excluding special project costs, increased 6 percent in 2014, compared to 2013, benefiting from the company's share repurchase activities over the past year.
"There is clearly momentum across our business as we experienced our strongest first quarter earnings ever," commented Richard Smucker, chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "Our team continues to execute well against our long-term strategy leading to strong results. As we look ahead, we expect to continue this momentum through the year as we further invest in our brands, our infrastructure, and our people."
"We experienced solid volume growth across a majority of our key categories during the quarter," added Vince Byrd, president and chief operating officer. "Consumers have responded very well to our new product innovation, marketing, and merchandising activities. As commodity costs have moderated, we have been able to give consumers even greater value and the response has been favorable. We look forward to carrying this momentum into the back-to-school and holiday merchandising seasons."

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