U.S. Simple Meals operating earnings were $104 million compared with $101 million in the prior-year period, an increase of 3 percent. The increase in operating earnings reflected earnings gains in U.S. Soup, partly offset by a decline in U.S. Sauces. For the segment, higher sales volume was partially offset by a decline in gross margin percentage and increased advertising expenses.
For the full year, sales for U.S. Simple Meals decreased 1 percent to $2.726 billion. A breakdown of the change in sales follows:
- Volume and mix subtracted 4 percent
- Price and sales allowances added 3 percent
U.S. Soup sales declined 2 percent reflecting a 7-percent decrease in ready-to-serve soups, partly offset by a 1-percent increase in condensed soups and a 3-percent increase in broth sales. Sales of U.S. Sauces increased slightly as gains in “Prego” pasta sauces were mostly offset by lower sales of “Pace” Mexican sauces and declines in other simple meal products.
U.S. Simple Meals operating earnings were $658 million compared with $657 million in the prior year, reflecting earnings gains in U.S. Soup that were mostly offset by lower earnings in U.S. Sauces. For the segment, higher selling prices, productivity improvements and lower promotional spending were mostly offset by volume declines and cost inflation.Global Baking and Snacking Sales for Global Baking and Snacking were $556 million for the fourth quarter, a decrease of 1 percent from a year ago. Organic sales increased 2 percent. A breakdown of the change in sales follows:
- Volume and mix added 3 percent
- Price and sales allowances added 4 percent
- Increased promotional spending subtracted 5 percent
- Currency subtracted 3 percent
- Sales of “Pepperidge Farm” products increased, driven by higher selling prices across the portfolio and volume gains, partially offset by increased promotional spending.
- In cookies and crackers, sales benefited from double-digit growth in “Goldfish” snack crackers, partly offset by declines in cookies.
- Bakery sales increased slightly, while sales of frozen products declined.
- Excluding the unfavorable impact of currency, sales in Arnott’s were comparable to the prior year, as strong growth in Indonesia was offset by declines in Australia.