Premier Foods Q1 sales drop but remain above 2019 comparatives

Premier Foods has reported a 13.2 per cent fall in sales in the 13 weeks ended July 3, despite hailing a “very encouraging” start to the financial year.

According to the group, which also owns the Mr Kipling, Ambrosia, Sharwood’s and Oxo brands, sales reached the “top end” of its targets for the past quarter.

Despite the 13 per cent drop in year-on-year sales, Premier Foods reported a 6.3 per cent rise over the same period in 2019.

According to the company it was buoyed by progress with healthier ranges such as low-fat sauces, as customers “adopted good healthier eating habits during the pandemic”.

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It saw “particularly strong progress” from its Ambrosia, Bisto, Oxo, Sharwood’s and Paxo brands, which all reported double-digit growth against 2019’s levels.

The firm added that non-branded grocery sales were lower compared with two years ago amid a “slow recovery in the group’s out-of-home businesses in the quarter”.

However, the group’s sweet treats business saw branded sales jump 3.2 per cent against last year as Mr Kipling continued to “grow strongly” with 7.5 per cent growth for the quarter.

It said sales of its Cadbury cakes were “impacted by the earlier timing of Easter” compared with other years, while lower-margin non-branded sales dipped due to the end of contracts.

“We have made a very encouraging start to the year, with quarter one sales at the top end of our expectations, as our brands again benefited from the introduction of new products and continued marketing,” Premier Foods chief executive Alex Whitehouse said.

“When compared to two years ago, our branded sales increased by over nine per cent, with grocery brands up 12%, continuing the strong momentum of recent years.

“As expected, overall sales were down compared to the same quarter a year ago when we saw exceptionally high grocery volumes during the first national lockdown.”

with PA Wires.

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