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Kellogg slips on soft breakfast sales

February 7, 2019 GMT

Battle Creek – Kellogg Co. is making headway toward Chief Executive Officer Steven Cahillane’s goal of boosting revenue – but investors appear to be concerned by lingering U.S. weakness in the key category of morning foods.

Sales in the fourth quarter rose 7.2 percent to $3.4 billion, after stripping out currency effects, while the company sees currency-neutral revenue climbing as much as 4 percent this year. Cereal sales and market share, however, were hurt by “category-wide softness”

Cahillane will wrap up his first year as CEO in March. The results show that his strategic shift away from cutting costs to increasing sales is attainable but challenging as consumers move away from packaged food. Snack sales declined, as the company adjusted prices and made changes to its product portfolio after a shift in distribution systems.

The segment has some momentum, however, with “key brands” reporting growth and market-share expansion, the company said. Kellogg saw growth in sales of frozen foods and its Kashi brand and also in regions like Asia and Europe. But U.S. snacks and morning foods are still the most important categories for the company, making up more than 40 percent of revenue.

Shares fell as much as 4.8 percent to $56.30 in early trading. The stock has gained 3.8 percent this year through Wednesday’s close, trailing the S&P 500 Index’s performance.