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Lifeway Foods' Shares Rise 40% on Positive Q1 Sales Data with March Revenue Up 13% Y-O-Y

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Shares of Lifeway Foods traded higher as the company reported it has increased production to support accelerated demand during the COVID-19 health crisis.

Lifeway Foods Inc. (LWAY:NASDAQ) yesterday provided a business update together with reporting its Q4/19 and FY/19 results for the period ended December 31, 2019. The company indicated that "it expects preliminary, unaudited Q1/20 net sales to increase by 2% to 4% as compared to Q1/19 with the month of March net sales up 13% year-over-year."

Lifeway's CEO Julie Smolyansky commented, "We are pleased with our solid end to the year and strong start to 2020. Our team's execution of our long-term strategic plan, Lifeway 2.0, is demonstrated by the sequential improvement in our sales trends in the fourth quarter resulting in our ability to reinvigorate growth which has accelerated into the first quarter of 2020 with net sales expected to be up 2% to 4% year-over-year including a really strong March monthly sales...Our current focus is the health, safety and well-being of our employees, as well as local and national communities, during this time of unprecedented uncertainty and crisis related to COVID-19."

"During this time of shelter-in-place as a result of COVID-19, 40% of Americans are more proactively taking care of their physical and emotional health and 17% are consuming more immunity and overall self-care supporting products such as probiotics and vitamins, according to IRI. In the first quarter of 2020, we have increased our production to meet accelerated demand at both grocery retail and online grocery as more consumers focus on self-care and nutrition to aid in their overall health and wellness needs...We believe Lifeway is well positioned for long-term growth and value creation with strong industry tailwinds to fuel our business as we increasingly serve consumers looking for more self-care, immunity and gut health options during this time of global health crisis and uncertainty," Smolyansky added.

The company stated that it expects to continue to benefit in 2020 from strong industry tailwinds including lower dairy and oil prices along with several other factors.

Lifeway Foods is based in Morton Grove, Ill., and stated that it is the country's leading supplier of the fermented probiotic beverage known as kefir. Lifeway advised that both its fermented dairy and non-dairy products are sold in the U.S., Ireland, Mexico and the U.K.

Lifeway Foods began the day with a market capitalization of around $28.1 million with approximately 15.71 million shares outstanding. LWAY shares opened 21% higher today at $2.17 (+$0.38, +21.23%) over yesterday's $1.79 closing price. The stock has traded today between $2.08 to $2.80 per share and is currently trading at $2.52 (+$0.73, +40.78%).

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