Diamond Foods, the California-based culinary and snackfoods group, has posted a GAAP fully-diluted loss per share of US$0.20 and a non-GAAP fully diluted loss per share of $0.16 for the third quarter, on sales of $67.8m.

“Due to seasonality, our third quarter is typically the lowest quarter of the fiscal year for sales and earnings,” said president and CEO Michael J. Mendes. “While we continue to expect our North American retail sales to be the growth engine going forward, sales were relatively flat this quarter compared to last year. This slowdown in growth was primarily due to the timing of new customer and channel expansion for the Emerald snack product line and to timing factors for our culinary business. Retail sales of our Diamond culinary products for the last fifty-two weeks grew at a rate that was more than twice the overall market.”

Mendes added that the company expects to see growth in retail sales in the fourth quarter and was confident that it could achieve 18% year-over-year growth in the retail business. “Although Emerald product sales grew about 25% this quarter, based upon our recent successes in expanding our distribution channels we believe we are well positioned to achieve our guidance of between $33m and $36m in sales for Emerald for the full fiscal year,” Mendes said.

The company said that, in line with its plans, it was focusing much of its efforts on its North American retail business and on its snackfood sales. It said it was making progress towards reducing its dependence on lower margin ingredient and international sales. As a result, gross margins were up year-on year.