Less than a week after ConAgra Foods told about 300 of workers at its Garner Slim Jim they will be let go, the company reported this morning that quarterly profit jumped 34 percent.
The Omaha, Neb., company is selling more Healthy Choice and Marie Callender's dinners and other prepared foods as consumers cook meals at home during the recession. Lower commodity costs also boosted profit.
Operating profit rose to $250 million during the quarter ended Aug. 30, up 34 percent from the same period last year. The company also raised its profit projection for the full year.
But total revenue during the latest quarter fell 3 percent to $2.96 billion, hurt by weaker Slim Jim sales and a decline in its commercial foods division.
Slim Jim production was disrupted by the June explosion at the Garner plant, which killed three workers.
ConAgra had been widely praised for its generous response to the explosion, but last week told workers the layoffs are necessary to ensure the business' long-term health. The job cuts will begin in mid-November.
The company expects the cost of lost Slim Jim production will be reimbursed by insurance.
The Garner plant is still operating at about 50 percent of its previous production capacity. ConAgra has said that plant will have to compete with other factories to manufacture Slim Jims.
ConAgra's stock fell 44 cents in midday trading to $21.89. The stock is up about 33 percent so far this year.