Smucker, Hormel fall after earnings miss following Amazon-Whole Foods deal


Shares of J.M. Smucker and Hormel Foods fell sharply Thursday after weaker-than-expected earnings as consumers continue to turn down packaged foods in favor fresher offerings, especially as Amazon prepares to take over organic grocery chain Whole Foods Market.

Shares of Smucker slid nearly 9 percent while shares of Hormel fell 5.3 percent in afternoon trade Thursday.

Profit at Smucker, with brands ranging from jarred jelly to boxed pancake mix, fell 11 cents a share shy of estimates, with adjusted profit of $1.51 a share. Revenue fell short of expectations, as well. The company pointed to softness in the retail consumer foods and coffee segments.

CEO Mark Smucker offered a glimpse into how the company is moving forward in the era of e-commerce. During the company’s earnings call Thursday morning, he said just 2 percent of its sales are online, giving “plenty of upside in the next few years.

Amazon said on Thursday that its acquisition of Whole Foods will close on Monday, pushing shares of Smucker lower.

“Within e-commerce, we completed the redesign of our organizational structure this quarter, with centralized resources focused on marketing, innovation, and supply chain initiatives across all our brands and businesses,” said Smucker, the fifth generation of his family to head the company. “E-commerce sales for our pet food brands grew 85 percent in the quarter while coffee sales in the channel more than doubled.”

Hormel, the maker of Spam, fell 3 cents a share short of estimates, with quarterly profit of 34 cents a share. Revenue also missed forecasts, and the company cut its full-year outlook, blaming high commodity price volatility.

Packaged food companies have been destroyed after the announcement of the Amazon-Whole Foods merger in June. Major packaged food companies including Kellogg and Kraft Heinz have joined Hormel and Smucker in year-to-date declines: Kellogg was down 5.5 percent and Kraft Heinz was 8.6 percent lower.

Whole Foods shareholders voted to approve the Amazon deal Wednesday, hours before the Federal Trade Commission said it will allow it to proceed. The FTC had been conducting an investigation to gauge whether the merger would decrease competition under federal regulations.

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