Finsbury Food Group’s revival in fortunes continues to gather pace, with an encouraging leap in sales in the past four months, despite difficult trading conditions.

In the first four months of the new financial year, total group sales revenues grew to £68.3m. This represents organic growth of just over £10m, an increase of 17% versus the prior year, said the company in a trading statement ahead of its annual general meeting.

The company’s UK cake, bread and free-from businesses all grew strongly, delivering just over half the total group growth, while Lightbody Europe (LBE), the group’s 50%-owned joint venture export business, provided the balance.

The increase follows a 12.6% rise in sales at the group in the year to July 2011 – results which turned round a 4.1% decline the previous year.   

Finsbury said that the current operating environment remained challenging. “Shopper behaviour continues to be affected by the economic uncertainty, and we have experienced ingredient and input cost inflation year-on-year.

Higher sales, resulting from volume growth and price increases, assisted by further internal efficiency initiatives, have partially offset this cost inflation, although operating margins are lower year-on-year,” it said.

John Duffy, chief executive, said: “The group has continued to grow and improve despite this most difficult of trading environments, which is encouraging.

“We continue to innovate and adapt our quality product ranges, so that they remain affordable for shoppers and, consequently, their popularity has proved enduring. While a difficult balancing act, the management and staff continue to improve and optimise the group’s resilient performance despite these headwinds.”

>>Finsbury maintains growth in cake sales