and Maria Ajit Thomas
Campbell Soup (CPB), the world's largest soup maker, cut its full-year sales forecast after posting weaker-than-expected quarterly sales as increased promotions failed to boost its U.S. soup division.
Shares of Campbell, which also makes Prego pasta sauces and Pepperidge Farm cookies, fell 5.4 percent in premarket trading.
The company said it expects sales from continuing operations to increase about 3 percent in fiscal 2014 ending July, compared with the previous forecast of a 4 to 5 percent rise.
Campbell has been facing stiff competition from private-label brands and smaller rivals and has had trouble attracting younger, more health-conscious consumers to its canned soup products.
The company launched eight new soups in January, including its first Latin-inspired cooking soups, and new varieties in its Healthy Request line.
"Despite an increase in the frequency of our promotional activity in the third quarter, we did not realize the anticipated lifts in a challenging consumer environment." Chief Executive Officer Denise Morrison said in a statement.
Campbell didn't give a figure for U.S. soup sales for the quarter, but said sales "held steady" after growing 14 percent in the same quarter a year earlier.
The company said it expects full-year adjusted earnings to be at the low end of its forecast of $2.53 to $2.58 a share.
Analysts on average expect a profit of $2.53 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net income attributable to Campbell rose 1.7 percent to $184 million, or 58 cents a share, in the third quarter. Excluding items, the company earned 62 cents a share.
Net sales grew 0.4 percent to $1.97 billion.
Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 59 cents a share on revenue of $2 billion.
The company's shares had risen about 4 percent so far this year to Friday's close of $45.12.