Premier Foods: Mr Kipling sales dip as own-label soars

Sales of Premier Foods’ own-label cakes have far outpaced its branded lines in the past six months.

The company today (15 November) reported a 0.7% increase in total sales of its Sweet Treats division in the first half of the year to £98.3m.

Sales of Premier’s non-branded lines have soared 17% to £17.6m, with new contract wins across a range of retail customers. Premier said it was also benefiting from the growth of the discounters and making gains in new retail space.

The company added that Cadbury cake revenue was marginally ahead of the same period a year ago, and had achieved its highest-ever UK value market share, at 8.4% (IRI).

Mr Kipling revenue was down-year on year, but Premier said sales momentum was growing for its higher-margin cake-on-the-go range, with sales up 55% in the period. Overall branded sales of sweet treats were down £1.9m year on year to £80.7m.

Divisional profit contribution from Sweet Treats was £11.5m, which was £4.9m higher than a year ago. The increase was a result of phasing consumer marketing investment and savings from new and ongoing lower levels of sales and administration costs.

Sweet treats also continued to perform well overseas, and Premier has recently extended into New Zealand with a range of Mr Kipling and Cadbury cakes.

These are the first such marketing campaigns the group has undertaken in its international markets and are central to supporting its growth ambitions

In the first half of the year, international revenues grew 23% on a constant currency basis and were up 30% in the second quarter. Over the past two years, international revenues have risen at a compound annual growth rate of 18%.

The business has also been running a targeted social media marketing campaign in Australia for Mr Kipling following similar activity for its Sharwood’s brand.

“These are the first such marketing campaigns the group has undertaken in its international markets and are central to supporting its growth ambitions,” said Premier.

Overall group revenue for the 26 weeks ended 30 September 2017 was £353.3m, up 1.5% year on year. Following the weaker first quarter, Premier said its largest brands recovered in the second quarter. Adjusted EBITDA in the first half of the year was static year on year at £56.1m.

The company added that 44% of its revenue growth in the second quarter came from its partnerships with noodles supplier Nissin and Cadbury owner Mondelēz International.

“We completed the signing of the new Mondelēz International global strategic partnership in the first half of the year and through our partnership with Nissin. Batchelors is now the fastest-growing major brand in our portfolio following the launch this year of pot format products such as Super Noodle Pots,” said Premier chief executive officer Gavin Darby.

“The cost efficiency programme we launched earlier this year is on track to deliver the expected benefits. Overall, we continue to expect the business to make progress in the second half of the year and our expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”

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