Jul 20, 2017

Premier Foods hit by lack of appetite for gravy and custard

Warm weather that damped sales of Bisto gravy and price rises that deterred shoppers from Ambrosia custard weighed on first-quarter sales at Premier Foods, the highly indebted British food producer. Premier reported a fall in total sales of 3.1 per cent in the 13 weeks to July 1, with the decline concentrated in its branded grocery division. Sales rose in other units, with the introduction of gluten-free Mr Kipling cakes helping sales in that division to rise 1.4 per cent. The fall in sales was in line with expectations and would be reversed during its second quarter, so that first-half sales would be "Broadly flat", Mr Darby said. In May, Premier reported a fall in full-year underlying revenues and profits after it was hit by higher prices for ingredients such as sugar and chocolate, as well as retailers cutting back on promotions.

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