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Lancaster Colony profit rises on stronger sales

NEW YORK (AP) -- Lancaster Colony's profit rose by 16 percent during its second quarter, as the maker of specialty foods, glassware and candles realized higher prices and introduced new products.

For the October to December period, the company earned $35.3 million, or $1.28 per share. That's compared with $30.4 million, or $1.11 per share, in the year-ago period.

Net sales rose to 5 percent to $326.2 million.

Analysts on average expected a profit of $1.23 per share on revenue of $329.7 million, according to FactSet.

Specialty foods sales rose 2 percent to $272.6 million, reflecting higher sales to both retail and foodservice channels. Overall volumes were about level with a year ago, however, with retail volume affected by lower shipments of garlic bread. Foodservice volume improved.

Glassware and candles sales rose 17 percent to $53.5 million, reflecting expanded sales of seasonal products.

Total gross margin, after taking out the cost of sales, rose to $81.7 million, from $69.9 million.

Shares of Lancaster Colony Corp. edged up 28 cents to $73.67.