Los Angeles Business Journal

Farmer Bros. Narrows Quarterly Loss

By Deborah Crowe Monday, May 6, 2013

Farmer Bros. Co. reported a smaller net loss in its fiscal third quarter as the Torrance coffee roaster benefitted from a drop in coffee bean prices.

After the Monday markets closed, the company reported a net loss of $1.4 million, (-9 cents), compared with a net loss of $5.5 million (-35 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 4 percent to $126 million.

Operating expenses rose 4 percent to $49 million, as Farmers invested in more sales and marketing training. It also launched new products, including the Artisan Collection and tea lines. Chief Executive Michael Keown noted the company saw a 300-basis-point improvement in its gross margin level of 39 percent, largely due to a drop in the cost of coffee beans compared with a year earlier.

"This top-line growth and margin expansion in the quarter has allowed us to make further strategic investments in our sales team capabilities and in new product initiatives,” Chief Executive Michael Keown said in a statement.

Shares earlier closed down 5 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $14.76.