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Sysco 3Q Earnings Flat As Higher Meat, Poultry Prices Crimp Sales Growth

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Sysco Corp.'s (SYY) fiscal third-quarter earnings were about flat from a year earlier as higher prices for items like meat and poultry dampened the foodservice supplier's sales growth. The company, which derives most of its sales from the restaurant industry, has continued to see rising food and overhead costs hurt its bottom line. Sysco on Monday said it recorded food cost inflation of 5.5% in the latest period, compared with 5.1% a year earlier and 6.3% in the prior quarter. While noting an overall easing in the rate of food inflation, the company said headwinds like double-digit price increases for meat and poultry remain a challenge. For the quarter ended March 31, the company reported a profit of $259.6 million, compared with a year-earlier profit of $258.5 million. Earnings per share were unchanged at 44 cents. Sales rose 7.6% to $10.5 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 43 cents on revenue of $10.45 billion. Gross margin narrowed to 17.8% from 18.6%. Shares closed Friday at $27.90 and were inactive premarket. The stock is down 4.9% since the start of the year. -By Mia Lamar, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3207;

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