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Farmer Bros. Revenue Falls 4%

September 15, 2004|Jerry Hirsch | Times Staff Writer

Annual sales at commercial coffee roaster Farmer Bros. Co. have slipped below the $200-million mark for the first time in 10 years.

The Torrance-based company, one of California's largest publicly traded food processors, said Tuesday that its revenue for the fiscal year ended June 30 fell 4% to $193.6 million. Profit dipped to $12.7 million, or 81 cents a share, compared with $23.6 million, or $1.30 a share, in the previous fiscal year.

The company's sales have suffered a long-term slide since peaking at $240 million in 1998, hurt by the growth of the gourmet coffee business and the penetration of companies such as Starbucks Corp. into the coffee service industry. Farmer Bros. revenue is now at its lowest point since 1993.

In a statement, Farmer Bros. said it was working to reinvigorate sales by upgrading its computer system and launching a "back-to-the-basics" training program for its sales team.

Last month the company promoted Michael King to vice president of sales, replacing Ken Carson, who retired after 39 years with Farmer Bros.

For the fourth quarter, sales were essentially flat at $47 million. Profit fell 65% to $2 million, or 11 cents a share, from $5.8 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier.

Farmer Bros. shares rose 3 cents to $25.01 on Nasdaq on Tuesday. They are down 20% this year.

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