A strong product development pipeline has driven sales growth at US speciality food group Lancaster Colony, the company said.

In a regulatory filing, Lancaster Colony said sales for the first nine months of the fiscal year rose to $896,642 from $854,400 in the comparable period of last year.

Chairman and CEO John Gerlach, Jr., attributed the gains to the roll out of new products. However, he said that the rate of growth is likely to slow in the fourth-quarter as the group laps strong Q4 product launches last year.

“While new products continue to support specialty foods sales, fourth quarter comparisons are expected to face the challenges of the strong pace of product rollouts last year,” he predicted.

Lancaster said that nine-month net earnings rose to $83,772, up from $69,853, while operating profit increased to $125,504 from $104,176.

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