McCormick & Co., Inc. reported sales and profit results for the first quarter ended Feb. 28, 2014 and reaffirmed its financial outlook for fiscal year 2014.
McCormick's first quarter sales rose 6 percent from the year-ago period and in local currency the increase was 8 percent. The company grew sales in both its consumer and industrial businesses through product innovation, brand building and expanded distribution. In the first quarter, the rate of sales increase in international markets was particularly strong.
Cost savings from the company's CCI program, as well as a favorable mix of business, improved gross profit margin, which rose to 39.4 percent from 38.7 percent in the year-ago period. The company increased operating income 11 percent to $125 million in the first quarter of 2014. Higher sales and improved gross profit margin more than offset a $7 million increase in brand marketing this period. Earnings per share rose 9 percent to $0.62 in the first quarter of 2014 from $0.57 in the year-ago period, with the strong increase in operating income, offset in part by the unfavorable impact of a higher tax rate. Net cash provided by operating activities rose $45 million from the year-ago period, primarily as a result of lower retirement plan contributions. Full report.