Analyst Note| Erin Lash, CFA |
To say that CEO Mark Clouse’s three-year tenure heading up wide-moat Campbell Soup has been fraught with change might be considered an understatement. Since January 2019, Campbell has parted ways with its fresh business as well as the bulk of its international operations and worked to steady its core meals, beverages, and snacking arms, while navigating a global pandemic. But we don’t attribute its recent performance (5% consumption growth and 5% sales growth on a two-year stack basis) as merely a byproduct of heightened consumer stock-ups of essential fare since March 2020. Rather, we think management’s strategic agenda--anchored in funneling additional investment across its operations--fueled by its pursuit of extracting inefficiencies has set Campbell on a sound course. And while much consternation rightly centers on how the business is poised to emerge in a post-COVID-19 world, we think that the steps already underway to steady the business before the pandemic juiced its sales trajectory should serve as a springboard against a more normalized demand environment.