Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Yummy profits for food companies

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Check Out the joy at Kraft and Kellogg.

Both Kraft, the largest North American food maker and Kellogg, the world’s largest cereal company, posted third-quarter profits that topped Wall Street’s expectations thanks to price increases and new items. The results are yet another nod to the fact that while you may shun clothes, jewelry or furniture during crunch times, you still gotta eat.

But Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld of Kraft, with brands from its namesake cheese and Maxwell House coffee to Oreo cookies and Toblerone chocolates, warned that tight credit conditions could cause some retailers to liquidate their inventories, which could affect product shipments in the fourth quarter.

Still, the company stood by its forecast for 2008 earnings before some one-time items and for 2009 net income.

For its part, Kellogg, which makes Rice Krispies and Pop-Tarts, said it was confident about touching the high end of its 2008 per-share earnings target.

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