Campbell hopes holidays can save slumping sales

When you think about brands that need a strong fourth quarter to save them from running in the red, you might not think of soup … but Campbell surely is. The soup company has been flailing as sales numbers are falling across the board.

Recently, shares of Campbell Soup dropped more than 7 percent, as overall sales fell 9 percent since this time last year. Apparently expecting more of the same, Campbell dropped its earnings projection for 2018 as well. No good news all around.

Campbell CEO Denise Morrison was reported by the AP as saying, “…the operating environment remains volatile with a rapidly evolving retailer landscape and competitive activity…” Which, loosely translated, means prices are coming down. But, of course, that’s not the only explanation.

Morrison may be tacitly pointing to Amazon’s recent purchase of Whole Foods, the high-end grocer who immediately cut prices after the takeover. Amazon owning WF, led other big national companies such as Kroger and Safeway to drop their prices in an effort to avoid becoming collateral damage in a war between Walmart and Amazon that’s jumped offline and come right into your local grocery store.

Lower prices mean lower sales figures for Campbell, as well as other pre-packaged brands such as Kraft Heinz and General Mills, which are among several companies with multiple brands in the dry goods grocery section. These lower prices really only give these companies one option for increasing revenue: they need to move more product off the shelves.

That task could be a daunting one as more people are choosing to eat fresher or on fad diets that point them away from anything with extra preservatives or other necessities of packaged food, like increased sodium or artificial anything.

So, how can the holiday season save Campbell and these other companies from a dismal end to 2017? Simple: holiday meals. People spend a ton celebrating the string of holidays in November and December. Canned goods fly off the shelves as people make recipes they typically only use once a year.

From cornbread casserole, to green bean casserole and all sorts of baked goods, snacks and other holiday buffet table fillers, people tend to pick ingredients canned or boxed by these companies.

Will it be enough to give Campbell a rosier outlook in the new year? At this point, it doesn’t look like that will be the case, but they need to start digging out of the hole now if they expect to get anywhere close.

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.

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Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 175 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, was named to PR Week's "40 under Forty" list, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations" is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.