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Premier Foods sales accelerate as Britons ‘get cooking again’

Premier Foods

By Henry Saker-Clark, PA City Reporter

Mr Kipling and Bisto maker Premier Foods has said sales are set to jump by a fifth in the current quarter as Britons continue to cook from scratch more often during the lockdown.

Shares in the food group jumped on Wednesday morning after it told investors that sales have surged since the outbreak of coronavirus.

Chief executive Alex Whitehouse said: “One of the most prevalent trends we have seen during the lockdown is that Britain has got cooking again, with particularly high levels of demand for items relating to meal preparation, including cooking sauces, gravy and baking ingredients.”

He said revenues for the three months to the end of June are “expected to be approximately 20% ahead of the same quarter a year ago” on the back of strong grocery sales.

The company hailed strong performances by its Sharwoods and Loyd Grossman cooking sauce brands in recent months.

It came as Premier Foods revealed that total revenues increased by 2.8% to £847.1 million for the year to March, compared with the previous year.

Meanwhile, it swung back into the black as it delivered a £53.6 million pre-tax profit, up from a £42.7 million pre-tax loss in the previous year.

It said two of its largest grocery brands, Bisto and Batchelors, both delivered growth during the year, while it was also buoyed by strong sales of Nissin Soba Noodles.

Mr Whitehouse added: “This has been a period of considerable progress for the company.

“We have now grown group revenues, trading profit and adjusted earnings for each of the last three years, driven by our successful branded growth model of delivering insightful new product innovation together with emotionally engaging advertising and building strategic retailer partnerships.”

Shares in the company increased by 6.6% to 63.4p in early trading on Wednesday.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Investors have been feasting on its shares in recent months, with the price rising by more than 230% since mid-March.

“The latest financial results have fuelled this market hunger, resulting in further share price gains.”

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