Conagra Brands reported results for the third quarter of the fiscal year 2021, which ended on February 28, 2021, showing that net sales increased 8.5% to USD2.8bn.
Gross profit increased 10.8% to USD758m in the quarter, and adjusted gross profit increased 8.9% to USD761m. Gross margin increased 58 basis points to 27.4% in the quarter, and adjusted gross margin increased 12 basis points to 27.5%. The net sales increase, together with supply chain realized productivity, favorable margin mix, cost synergies associated with the Pinnacle Foods acquisition, and fixed cost leverage combined to more than offset input cost inflation, higher transportation costs, COVID-19-related expenses, and the lost profit from the Sold Businesses, according to the company’s report.
The 9.7% increase in organic net sales was driven by a 6.1% increase in volume and a favorable price/mix impact of 3.6%. The volume increase was primarily driven by continued elevated at-home food consumption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which benefitted the Company’s retail segments. This increase was partially offset by the pandemic’s negative impact on the Foodservice segment as well as a temporary supply chain disruption related to a winter storm near the end of the quarter. The price/mix favorability was primarily driven by favorable mix, lower promotional activity, and inflation-justified pricing in Foodservice.
“We have made significant investments in our business over the past five-plus years, modernizing our products to generate consumer demand. Our strong third-quarter results benefited from these investments. We continued to invest in the business during the quarter, with a focus on ensuring our products are available both online and in stores, as we aim to maximize consumer acquisition during this period of heightened demand,” Sean Connolly, president and chief executive officer of Conagra Brands said. “We remain confident that each of our retail domains – frozen, snacks, and staples – is well-positioned to sustain the benefits of the eat-at-home habits consumers have developed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our continued business momentum, coupled with our disciplined approach to investment, reinforce our confidence in the long-term potential of the business and our ability to create sustained value for our shareholders. We further demonstrated this confidence by repurchasing nearly $300 million of our common stock this quarter, which came after we raised our quarterly dividend 29% earlier this fiscal year.”