Renshaw and Brighter Foods owner Real Good Food (RGF) saw revenues fall 28% for the five months to the end of August due to the impact of Covid-19.
However, recovery is in sight for the business as it noted sales in August were only 7% lower than the same month last year, it said in a trading update ahead of its AGM today (23 September 2020).
Pre-tax losses were £3.8m compared to £1.9m over the same period last year. However, RGF added that this period tends to be loss-making as inventories build ahead of the peak trading season between September and December.
Both businesses are now close to full employment, the company added, although shift patterns have changed to accommodate social distancing requirements and, so far, less than full demand.
Sales fell 25% in the cake decorations division, which includes Renshaw, as the impact of Covid was felt in the UK wholesale market and European sales. However, retail held up reasonably well particularly as Renshaw becomes less dependent on the maturing sugar paste and marzipan markets. It secured new product launches in Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, which is a new customer for the business, and a new frostings range in the wholesale sector.
RGF said Brighter Foods, which makes products including snack bars, remained “profitable and cash generative demonstrating its resilience and lean and flexible cost base” despite sales falling 32% for the first five months of the 2020/21 financial year. These revenues were impacted by restrictions on social gatherings and the wider fall in food on the go.
Assuming no new major Covid-19 setbacks, RGF anticipated sales being 5% ahead for the second half of the year as it is on its way to being back to full capacity by year-end. It added that product innovation remained a key strength with 17 new products this year and a further 27 new products have trial or launch dates agreed soon.
“Whilst our businesses have been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, both Brighter Foods and Cake Decorations are experiencing recoveries in their respective markets. Despite the outlook remaining uncertain pro tem, it is encouraging that both businesses have gained new customers and agreed new product launches,” said chairman Mike Holt.