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Sales fall, profit shrinks at Seneca Foods

By ANDREA DECKERT - 5/27/2011 1:07:01 PM

A drop in selling prices coupled with higher inventory levels contributed to a decrease in fourth-quarter sales and a net loss for Seneca Foods Corp.

The Marion, Wayne County-based firm reported after markets closed Thursday a net loss of $1.9 million, or 15 cents a diluted share, compared with a profit of $6.3 million, or 51 cents a diluted share,  a year ago. Sales dropped by 9.4 percent to $253 million.

"The lower sales in the fourth quarter come from a combination of lower selling prices and a later Easter, which delayed holiday sales into April," said Kraig Kayser, president and CEO, in a statement. "The loss in the quarter was due to the continuing impact on margins of the inventory overhang in the market as the company promoted heavily to move excess product. 
“While we are making progress in getting our inventories in line with historic norms, it will take some time to get margins back to improved levels, especially in our fruit business where the oversupply situation has been particularly dramatic."

For the fiscal year, Seneca Foods reported net income of $17.7 million, or $1.45 a diluted share, down 63.5 percent from net income of $48.4 million, or $3.96 a diluted share, the previous year. Sales fell nearly 7 percent to $1.19 billion.

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