Sales at Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods have continued to rise as the nation’s lockdown restrictions force families to stay at home.
The company – which produces brands including Cadbury Cakes, Batchelors, Bisto and Ambrosia custard – has revealed that group sales rose nine per cent for the 13 weeks to December 26 – and 12.5 per cent to date.
Bosses have attributed the growth to the closure of pubs and restaurants across the UK, resulting in more meals being eaten at home.
They said the ‘vast majority’ of the group’s grocery brands continued to see substantial growth during the period.
Premier Foods CEO Alex Whitehouse said: “Quarter 3 proved to be another period of exceptional growth, with group sales up nine per cent and branded sales up 12.1 per cent, as people turned to our product ranges in the face of heightened restrictions on out of home eating.
“Our colleagues have carried out a magnificent job supplying this elevated level of demand, keeping the business fully operational while at the same time retaining strict measures to keep each other safe.
“We continue to deploy our branded growth model strategy, launching a series of new products in the quarter such as Sharwood’s low sugar stir fry sauces and supporting five of our major brands with TV advertising.
“Together with excellent execution both in store and online, we continue to take market share in volume and value terms. Online sales were up 90 per cent in the quarter, ahead of the broader channel and we saw higher household penetration for brands such as Bisto, Oxo and Paxo, as more meals were eaten at home this Christmas.”
Mr Whitehouse added: “Looking to the remainder of the year, out of home eating is likely to remain heavily restricted and we therefore expect to see continued high levels of consumer demand for our products.”
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Premier Foods – which has 16 sites across the UK including a factory in Stoke-on-Trent where it employs around 600 people – also saw its international business grow by around 43 per cent due to the bulk-buying of products ahead of Brexit on December 31.
And the company expects international sales to continue to grow after recently signing an agreement with Weston Foods to sell and market Mr Kipling cakes in the US with the first shipments expected to commence in the first quarter of 2021/22.
In a trading update to the stock exchange, Premier Foods revealed it expects trading profit for the full year to be in the range of £145m – £150m.
It said: “In a year when many peoples’ lives have been altered by the impacts of the global pandemic, the board is hugely appreciative of all colleagues who have helped play their part in keeping everyone safe and the nation fed.
“Following the delivery of another strong period of trading, the group will continue to increase its investment in brand advertising and has further new product development planned for quarter four.”