JM Smucker said today (7 June) it had been able to grow earnings and sales in the fourth quarter of its financial year as higher prices offset weaker volumes.

During its fourth quarter, which ran until 30 April, the US food group said sales increased 14% to US$1.36bn. However, sales volumes were down 7% in the three-month period as consumption dropped in the face of higher prices and weak consumer sentiment.

During the period, the company booked a 10% increase in net earnings, which rose to $104.1m, or 93 cents a share, up from $94.9m, or 82 cents, a year earlier. Excluding one-off items such as restructuring, merger and integration costs, EPS rose to $1.10 from $1 per share.

“We are pleased to have delivered another year of record sales and year-over-year earnings per share growth in a complex macroeconomic environment,” said CEO Richard Smucker.

For the full year, Smucker said net sales rose 15% to $5.53bn. However, net income dropped 4% to $459.7m due to acquisition expenses, including its recent takeover of Sara Lee’s North American coffee unit.

“As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in our portfolio of trusted brands, build upon our recent acquisitions, advance our extensive pipeline of innovation, further our supply chain productivity initiatives, and build upon the foundation being laid in China. We are well-positioned for continued growth.” 

The company said it expects 2013 earnings of $5-5.10 a share on 7% sales growth.

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