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McCormick's profits rise 2 percent in first quarter

Sparks-based McCormick & Co. said Tuesday that it increased profits 2 percent in the three months ending in February, compared with the year-earlier period.

The spice maker, which also sells seasonings, recipe mixes and other products, produced profits of $76 million from sales of $934 million. Sales rose 3 percent.

The company said its sales outlook for the year — growth of 3 percent to 5 percent in local currency — still stands.

McCormick's earnings of 57 cents per share, up from 55 cents a year earlier, topped Wall Street analysts' expectations by 1 cent per share on average.

Gains in the company's consumer business dominated the first quarter. Sales in that segment rose 7 percent, compared with a 2 percent decrease in industrial business sales.

"Demand has been weak in certain markets, including quick service restaurants in the U.S. and China, although we expect some recovery in the upcoming quarters," CEO Alan D. Wilson said in a statement.

The company's stock dropped 10 cents a share Tuesday to close at $72.61, after trading above Monday's price for most of the day.

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