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Campbell Soup Profit Plunges 67%

Campbell Soup posts a 67% plunge in third-quarter earnings, a day before the report was set to be released.

Campbell Soup

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released its third-quarter earnings on Thursday, a day before planned, and the results showed that its profit slumped from the same period a year earlier.

Analysts had been speculating that the report would be especially rough, and they weren't wrong. The company's profit plunged 67% to $174 million, or 49 cents a share, down from $532 million, or $1.40 a share, a year ago.

However, excluding the sale of the Godiva brand, earnings were actually $171 million, or 48 cents a share, beating analysts' expectations of 42 cents.

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Campbell's sales dropped 10% to $1.69 billion, down from $1.88 billion a year earlier. Ready-to-serve soups fell 7%, which continues the trend in declining convenience-soup sales.

The company tried to calm fears during a conference call on Friday. President Douglas Conant told analysts that the fiscal year so far has been good, despite many challenges. For example, the trends of consumers cutting their food budgets, trimming non-essentials and eating more at home during the recession helped the sales of condensed soup, which rose 2% in the quarter.

Campbell originally planned to announce its earnings on Friday morning, but released the results Thursday after the bell.

Shares of the soup maker were up 1.5% to $27.19 in Friday afternoon trading.

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