US canned vegetables maker Seneca Foods returned to profitability in its first quarter, despite recording a drop in sales.

Earnings in the three months ended 2 July amounted to US$8.2m compared to a net loss of $8m in the prior-year period. Last year’s comparable results included a $4.3m non-cash LIFO (inventory valuation method) charge and plant restructuring expenses of $54,000.

The company made an operating profit of $14.3m in the quarter versus an operating loss of $10.2m in the comparable period last year.

Sales, however, slid 10.4% to $26.8m. The company blamed a sales volume decrease of $57.3m, partially offset by higher selling prices and a more favourable sales mix of $30.5m.