Premier Foods has forecast full-year profit at the top end of market expectations, after the company reported higher sales for the first quarter on the back of the strong performance of its grocery business.
The British maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Oxo cubes said sales in the first quarter saw growth of 21.1%, and it gained further grocery market share of 94 basis points.
Branded sales were up 17.5% in the quarter, the food group said.
'A Strong Start'
"We've made a strong start to the year, sustaining the positive momentum from previous quarters," commented Alex Whitehouse, Premier Foods chief executive.
"Our sales performance was broad based, supported by ongoing brand investment, new product development such as Mr Kipling Brownie Bites and strong in-store activation. Our portfolio, which helps consumers make good value and nutritious, tasty meals at home, continues to demonstrate a high level of relevance in the current, challenging economic climate."
Grocery And Sweet Treats
The group's Grocery business reported a 26.7% increase in sales in the quarter, compared to last year, while the Sweet Treats division saw sales grow by 7.6% in the period – Mr Kipling alone saw a 3.6% increase in sales.
Internationally, Premier Foods said that sales rose 14.5% in the quarter, with Mr Kipling now reaching distribution in over 1,400 stores in the US, and additional seasonal products planned for launch in the coming months.
'In the medium term, the group expects to unlock further significant shareholder value through the delivery of its five pillar growth strategy, as it builds on its successful core UK business and applies this to new categories, overseas markets and inorganic opportunities,' it noted.
[Additional reporting by ESM]