ConAgra Foods today (19 September) confirmed the fall in first-quarter earnings it flagged last week, which prompted a profit warning for the year.

The US food giant booked a 42.3% decline in net income to US$144.3m for the 13 weeks to 25 August. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations was down 46% at $0.33, or 16% at $0.37, excluding one-time items.

Operating profit was up 6% at $398m, boosted by the inclusion of results from US private-label peer Ralcorp Holdings, which ConAgra acquired earlier this year. The Ralcorp assets also helped net sales, which jumped 27.2% to $4.2bn.

However, profit from ConAgra’s consumer food business, its largest, fell 21%. Sales were just under $2bn, down 1.8%.

CEO Gary Rodkin said: “Our first-quarter consumer Foods volumes were lower than planned due to category and customer challenges. We are revising our merchandising and promotion plans to improve our volume, and we have already begun additional SG&A cost management initiatives that should improve earnings per share performance as the fiscal year progresses.”

Click here for the full statement from ConAgra.