Cost cuts keep profits on the boil at Campbell Soup

CAMPBELL Soup reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit yesterday, helped by price increases and easing costs for ingredients such as grain that offset a drop in sales.<br /><br />The world&rsquo;s largest soup maker also raised its sales and profit expectations for the fiscal year.<br /><br />Sales fell 2.1 per cent to $2.2bn (&pound;1.3bn) from a year ago. <br /><br />Campbell earned $304m, or 87 cents a share, in the first quarter, up from $260m, or 70 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts, on average, had forecast 81 cents per share<br /><br />The company has benefited in the last year as consumers prepared more meals at home. The firm has also reined in costs, allowing it to increase its gross margin to 41.9 per cent from 38.7 per cent a year earlier.<br /><br />Campbell saw sales of its ready-to-serve soups like its Select Harvest line fall, although sales of its Chunky soups rose.