Net sales in the third quarter of 2020 were $1.6 billion compared to $1.7 billion in the prior year as net sales declined $76 million attributed to the divestment of ANZ. After adjusting for the sale of ANZ, average selling prices improved nearly 1 percent and increased revenue $12 million. Shipments increased 1.7 percent in tons, or $24 million, while unfavorable foreign currency translation reduced net sales by $11 million. Segment operating profit1 was $204 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared to $206 million in the prior year. Higher shipments benefited segment operating profit by $10 million. Cost inflation, which was elevated due to foreign currency pressures, more than offset the benefit of higher selling prices by $4 million. Operating costs were $6 million higher than the prior year as improved operating performance and cost control efforts substantially offset the impact of lower production levels. Current year profits were unfavorably impacted by the net effect of favorable foreign currency translation and the sale of ANZ.
Total Packaging Papers shipments were 219,200 tons, 9.5 percent lower than January 2017. Bag & Sack shipments were down 13.4 percent month-over-month and Multiwall shipments were down 19.0 percent. Food Wrapping shipments were up 0.4 percent. The operating rate for January was 84.3 percent, the second lowest over the last 13 months. Inventories were 171,800 tons, up 3.6 percent since December 2017.