Despite Sales Growth, Smucker to Make Job Cuts

The company's third quarter included divesting its Crisco brand on Dec. 1 and its Natural Balance brand on Jan. 29.

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The J.M. Smucker Company, which reported its November-January fiscal results on Thursday, confirmed earlier in the week that it plans to lay off an unspecified number of employees amid shifting consumer behavior.

Multiple local news outlets reported Feb. 22 that the Orrville, OH-based company said in an emailed statement that the company is restructuring and reshaping its brands.

"The adjustments to our structure unfortunately will result in North American employees leaving our company," Smuckers communications and media relations director Hancart wrote, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. "Since conversations are ongoing with employees, we will not be sharing any more details. Decisions that negatively impact any of our employees are always difficult to make and are only made after careful consideration."

This past December, Smucker sold dog and cat food brand Natural Balance for approximately $50 million. Earlier in 2020, Smucker divested its Crisco shortening and oils unit for $550 million. Those moves were part of a company refocusing on higher-profit brands in coffee, pet food, jams, jellies and peanut butter.

"Consumer behavior has evolved rapidly in recent years," Hancart said, according to News 5 Cleveland. "However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an even greater acceleration of change."

Hancart said the company is restructuring and reshaping its brands.

In its November-January 2021 fiscal third quarter, Smucker net sales of $104 million improved 5 percent year-over-year. Excluding its recent divestments and currency exchange impacts, sales increased 7 percent. Operating profit of $406 million surged 41 percent, while net profit of $261.5 million likewise jumped 40 percent.