UK shoppers conscious of a worsening cost-of-living crisis were helping Oven Pride maker McBride return to profit, the company said, as it gained market share in the private-label market amid rising prices.
The British cleaning products maker, which has been struggling to cope with rising costs in the past couple of years, said there were early signs of stabilisation of some input costs, even as energy and labour prices remained a concern for the group.
"Energy and employment costs continue to apply further inflationary pressure, and accordingly, we continue to action mitigations including price increases, product engineering and cost control," chief executive officer Chris Smith said.
McBride said private-label volume grew 2.6% in the six-month period and that was driving its near-term growth.
'Our contract manufacturing business saw volumes decline 14%, mostly a result of weaker volumes for the brands in stores as shoppers make alternative choices to mitigate the impact of inflationary pressures,' the company said.
McBride reported a smaller adjusted operating loss of £1.3 million (€1.5 million) for the six months to 31 December, compared with a loss of £14.8 million (€16.7 million) in the same period a year earlier.
The company expects an adjusted operating profit in the second half.
The company said it would remain remain vigilant of the ongoing macroeconomic uncertainty, particularly around energy costs, high general inflation levels and the knock-on impacts of any escalation of the Ukraine conflict.
British annual consumer price inflation cooled to 10.1% in January, the lowest reading since September, official data showed earlier this month.