A rise in second-quarter earnings was not enough to stem a fall in half-year profits at US food group Hormel Foods.

The company said today (21 May) that net earnings for the three months to 26 April rose from US$77.6m a year ago to US$80.4m this year.

However, Hormel’s half-year net earnings fell 2.5% to US$161.8m despite a 2% rise in first-half sales to US$3.3bn.

During the second quarter, net sales inched up 0.1% to reach US$1.6bn, although volumes dipped 3%.

Nevertheless, Hormel chairman, president and CEO Jeffrey Ettinger said the company was “pleased” to report “record earnings” for the second quarter.

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“Our grocery products segment again delivered increases in sales and segment profit, with strong sales of canned meats and Mexican products. Our Jennie-O Turkey Store segment continues to rebound, despite difficult market conditions, as they were faced with even lower commodity meat prices than in the first quarter,” Ettinger said.

He added: “As a result of our better-than-expected first half, we now anticipate full year results in the upper end of our previously announced guidance range of $2.15 to $2.25 per share.”