Fresh produce firm Fresh Del Monte has posted a 4.3% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2019, to $1.15 billion (€1.02 billion), up from $1.11 billion a year earlier.
The group said that net sales increased in the firm's fresh and value-added business segments, primarily due to contributions from its Mann Packaging business.
However, the sales performance was partially offset by lower net sales in its banana business, as well as due to unfavourable exchange rates in Europe and Asia.
Gross profit at the business was $93.3 million in the quarter, compared to $106.5 million in the corresponding quarter the previous year.
Fresh Del Monte said that the decline in profit was due to lower profitability in its banana segment, due to normalised industry banana supplies across the markets in which it operates. Profitability was boosted, however, by the performance of its fresh and added-value business segment.
"The performance-improving initiatives we put in place in 2018 to rationalise our non-tropical, tomato and melon operations delivered margin improvements during the first quarter of 2019," said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer.
"The unfavourable weather and logistical challenges of 2018 have not had an impact and we appear to be tracking towards a normal performance for these two factors for the first half of 2019," he added.
Abu-Ghazaleh added that the company still faces headwinds with regard to higher costs in its fresh and added-value business segment, and is looking to implement cost control measures in same.
"We continue to focus on all areas of our operations to ensure that we have the right cost structure to support our diverse product line and our vertically-integrated platform, and to expand our market reach through new and existing distribution channels to promote our global growth and brand awareness.”
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.