Orange County Business Journal

Bridgford Foods’ Shares Jump

Chris Casacchia Friday, June 24, 2011

Shares of Anaheim’s Bridgford Foods Corp. jumped Friday amid a downward trend in trading on the Nasdaq.

Bridgford, which processes and distributes snacks and refrigerated and frozen foods to grocery stores, hotels and restaurants, saw its share price increase more than 12% in afternoon New York trading on a market value of $78 million.

The Nasdaq was down more than 1% in late afternoon New York trading.

Bridgford's increase runs counter to a tough first part of the year, when it's share price fell by about half before the recent bump. The dropoff was driven in part by investor concerns about raising commodity and oil prices.

Bridgford saw flat sales in the first quarter of $28.8 million while its gross profit margin sank to 34%, down by about 15% from a year earlier.

Bridgford has made changes to operations and devised new products in response to pressures on fuel and commodity prices.

Higher fuel costs led the company in the last year to consolidate delivery routes, trim operations in less profitable markets and contract with distributors to replace parts of its own distribution network.

The company introduced several items in the past year, including beef and pepperoni stick value packs and turkey bites.

In the frozen food division, new offerings included a variety of doughs, including sweet yeast, sub and hoagie rolls, whole grain and white whole wheat rolls.

One newer product—cinnamon-flavored monkey bread developed a few years ago—has been a hit at grocery stores, restaurants and hotels.

Bridgford also buys products for resale such as cheeses, salads, party dips, Mexican foods, nuts and other deli items.