US poultry group Sanderson Farms has indicated its first-quarter margins remained under continued pressure from high feed costs despite rising poultry market prices.

The company said today (21 January) that net sales for the three months rose to US$595.8m, up from $517.8m in the comparable period of last year. Sanderson said that revenues benefited from an increase in retail poultry prices.

As a result of higher sales, the group was able to report a reduction in its net loss, which fell to $6.9m from $8m in the comparable period of last year.

However, the group added that the high unemployment and weak consumer environment meant that foodservice sales remained subdued.

“Our results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 reflect improving, but still challenging, conditions for our industry,” chairman and CEO Joe Sanderson Jr said. “While we experienced higher poultry market prices than the same period a year ago, our grain costs were also higher.”