Tom Keighley

Food CEO predicts ‘buy British’ year

Premier Foods have posted sales increases of 3.7% for the three months up to April, as their CEO showed faith in consumers to support British brands and jobs.

The manufacturers of iconic brands such as Hovis, Batchelors and Mr Kipling reveled the increases following continued marketing and investment behind eight “Power Brands” and cost reduction and restructuring within the company.

Group sales were up 1.3% compared to the prior year, and increases also drove market share gains across the Power Brand categories, particularly towards the end of the quarter, and the first share gains for 12 months.

Michael Clarke, Chief Executive Officer said: “These first quarter results are in line with our expectations.

“The consumer environment continues to be very challenging and our focus for 2012 remains unchanged; to stabilise the business and invest in our recovery.

“In this year of British celebration, we believe that more and more of our retail customers and consumers will be choosing to buy British brands like ours, made in Britain, supporting British jobs.

“We have a solid programme in the second quarter to support Power Brands sales including further advertising, targeted promotions and new product innovation such as the recently launched Hovis Farmer’s Loaf with 100% British wheat, Batchelors Deli-Box range of convenient meals, Ambrosia rice snack pots and a limited edition range of Mr.Kipling cakes celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“We are driving sustainable sales and improving market shares by focusing investment behind our eight Power Brands, improving customer collaboration and reducing costs.”

Branded sales in the Grocery business were reported as encouraging, increasing by 1.8% in the quarter, as the likes of Loyd Grossman products delivered strong sales following advertising and promotional activity.

In the second quarter of this year, the St Albans-based firm plan to launch new lines include Mr Kipling British Fancies and Mini Classics for the Diamond Jubilee, a new Deli-Box range under the Batchelors brand and a wider range of Ambrosia rice snack pots.

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