Premier Foods sales rise after brand clean up

Debt-laden food manufacturer Premier Foods said it maintained sales growth in the third quarter, as full year expectations remain unchanged.

Debt-laden food manufacturer Premier Foods said it maintained sales growth in the third quarter, as full year expectations remain unchanged.

The St Albans-based firm, which disposed of its vinegar, pickles and jam businesses earlier this year, said sales rose two per cent in the quarter as it made progress in "stabilising and cleaning up the firm".

Premier Foods, whose main brands include Hovis bread, Bisto, Ambrosia and Loyd Grossman sauces, said sales of power brand sales gained 2% year-to-date while grocery power brands sales climbed 4.1%.

Sales and market share of Hovis bread increased during the quarter, in what continues to be a highly competitive market.

"While the economic, trading and consumer environment remains challenging, the company's full year expectations remain unchanged," the Mr Kipling maker said in a statement.

The group, whose sales were boosted earlier this summer by its Great British Fancies campaign for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, said it has a solid programme in place for the key Christmas trading period.

Commenting on its marketing strategy the company said: "The quarter was characterised by a quieter period of consumer marketing investment (during the Olympics) compared to the first half of the year. However, the final quarter will see a return to increased levels of marketing activity. This will include a particular focus on Batchelors' and Bisto, the latter to support the recent launch of Bisto 'Stock Melts'."

The company said it expects to deliver additional overhead cost reductions of £20m in 2013, after £40m of savings in 2012.

The financial position of the company remains unchanged since its half-year results and net debt stood at £1.3bn.

CJ

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