Premier Foods’ power brands strategy has paid off, with a 3.7% increase in sales for the three months ending 31 March 2012.

As reported in the company’s Interim Management Statement this morning (25 April), group sales totalled £427m for the quarter – up 1.3%. Premier Foods’ Bread business saw a 3.1% rise in sales for the quarter, which has been attributed to a stronger bakery performance, in particular of non-branded products, and partly offset by lower Milling sales, owing to a contract loss.

Branded sales in the Grocery business saw a 1.8% boost in the three-month period, with further plans to launch new product lines this year, including British Fancies and Mini Classics under the Mr Kipling cake brand.

Michael Clarke, CEO of Premier Foods, said: “These first quarter results are in line with our expectations. The consumer environment continues to be very challenging and our focus for 2012 remains unchanged – to stabilise the business and invest in our recovery. 

“We have a solid programme in the second quarter to support Power Brands sales including further advertising, targeted promotions and new product innovation such as the recently launched Hovis Farmer’s Loaf with 100% British wheat and a limited edition range of Mr Kipling cakes celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“We are driving sustainable sales and improving market shares by focusing investment behind our eight Power Brands, improving customer collaboration and reducing costs.”

The company reported that its cost reduction programme remain on track to deliver more than £40m of overhead cost savings by 2013, while its financial position and expectations for recurring free cash flow in 2012 are unchanged.