Canadian frozen desserts firm CoolBrands International has reported lower net earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2005, hit by increased competition.

The company said net earnings were US$2.6m, or 5 cents per share, for the first quarter to 30 November, compared to $5.0m, or 9 cents per share, for the year-ago period. Sales for the first quarter increased to $96.3m from $91.6m for the same quarter last year.

“As we expected, increased competition impacted our revenues and net earnings in this first quarter. In particular, results were driven by lower sales in our base prepackaged consumer products business. Our strategy to respond – described several weeks ago – is well underway: we are implementing an aggressive programme of new brand introductions and product innovation and increased promotional support for our brands. We are also expanding the categories in which we compete, reflected in our recently announced agreement to acquire the Breyer’s and Creme Savers yoghurt business from Kraft,” said David J. Stein, president and co-chief executive officer.