Roberts Bakery bosses say they are upbeat despite static revenue and a drop in profits.
The business, which unveiled a radical rebrand in 2017 and has since rolled out a strong pipeline of new product development, has reported a turnover of £90.3m in the year to 26 August 2018 compared to £90.4m the previous year.
Roberts said profits had been impacted by the difficult trading environment in the UK bread market and rising costs. The business introduced a number of cost reduction initiatives, including a restructuring that reduced the average headcount from 920 to 854.
Operating profits, including one-off cost for the restructuring, fell from £3.7m in 2017 to £1m in the latest period.
But Roberts said the latter half of 2018 – which is not included in the results – had brought a ‘step-change’ in sales revenue.
“We have seen good growth in multiple retailers, where we have grown faster even than own label, have enjoyed a strong sales performance with discounters and secured nationwide convenience store coverage for the first time,” said deputy chairman Mike Roberts. “This is a very encouraging picture.”
He added that the business was now seeing the benefit of the rebrand, which included a bold new look and NPD including flavoured ‘Fun Buns’ and bloomers.
“We changed direction with our branded bread business 18 months ago, investing in a significant rebrand and repositioning with a keen focus on category innovation, and this is beginning to deliver.”
Recent activity by the business has included the roll-out of three new bloomers, designed to attract consumers concerned about digestive health, and secured its first nationwide c-store listings through Booker.
“Our long-term ambition remains for the sector as a whole – to reinvigorate bakery with fresh ideas and impetus – and deliver benefits for all stakeholders. We are well placed to continue our journey to that goal,” said Roberts.