THOMASVILLE, Ga. – Flowers Foods , Inc. (NYSE: NYSE:) has reported a slight increase in its first-quarter sales, achieving a record $1.577 billion, a 2.8% rise compared to the same quarter last year.

The company’s net income also saw a marginal increase of 3.3% to $73.0 million, primarily due to moderating input costs and price increases from the previous year, which were slightly offset by an uptick in selling, distribution, and administrative expenses. The adjusted earnings per share (EPS) remained steady at $0.38, consistent with the prior year’s first quarter.

Despite the adjusted EPS falling short of analyst expectations by $0.02, the company’s stock saw a positive movement, inching up 1% following the announcement. This investor optimism is largely attributed to the company’s future guidance, which is marginally ahead of consensus estimates. For the fiscal year 2024, Flowers Foods anticipates adjusted EPS to be between $1.20 and $1.30, with the midpoint of $1.25 surpassing the analyst consensus of $1.24.

Chairman and CEO Ryals McMullian commented on the results, stating, “Our solid first quarter results highlight the increasing effectiveness of our portfolio strategy and investments in marketing and innovation.” He also noted the growth in quarterly branded retail volumes, the first since 2020, and improvements in profitability across different business areas.

Looking ahead, Flowers Foods maintains its 2024 outlook, expecting sales to range from approximately $5.091 billion to $5.172 billion, indicating up to a 1.6% growth compared to the previous year. The company’s adjusted EBITDA is projected to be between $524 million and $553 million. These projections are based on assumptions including depreciation and amortization costs, net interest expenses, an effective tax rate of around 25%, and a weighted average diluted share count of approximately 213 million shares.

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In the first quarter, branded retail sales rose 3.5% to $1.015 billion, while other sales increased 1.4% to $561.9 million. The company also reported a decrease in materials, supplies, labor, and other production costs as a percentage of sales, which contributed to the improved net income figures.

McMullian expressed confidence in the company’s strategy, saying, “Looking ahead, we remain focused on building continued momentum while capitalizing on more favorable trends in the bread category.”

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