Finsbury revenue up 4% despite overseas sales dip

Finsbury Food Group has reported a 4% hike in group sales in the past four months.

The company, which makes a wide range of licensed and own-label cakes and breads, said it had continued to benefit from the geographically diverse nature of its operations, and that trading was in line with expectations.

While sales from its UK bakery division rose 5% year on year in the first four months of the 2017/18 financial year, its 50%-owned European business declined by 3.8%.

This is a reverse of the fortunes of the business over its most recent full financial year, when declining prices contributed to a 1.4% drop in UK bakery turnover, while sales in the overseas division rose 17.3% – although 15.1% of this was from exchange rates.

Finsbury described the latest quarter’s 4% increase in group revenue to £105.5m as a “pleasing performance” that “shows resilience and recognises that the UK retail food market has recently transitioned from a deflationary to an inflationary environment”.

“The multi-channel group has a strong track record of successfully navigating the previously reported head-winds which continue to face the entire industry,” it added.

Finsbury said its resilience had been achieved by investing in initiatives to drive efficiency and productivity, offsetting increases in the group's cost base to “ensure Finsbury is well positioned to maintain value for consumers and to remain a competitive, low-cost producer for customers”.

Recent activity has included the installation of a new automated whole cake line in an upgraded bakery at its Cardiff site, and a new artisan bread bakery at its Salisbury site.

Last month, Finsbury confirmed it is to close premium baked goods business Grain D’Or, which employs 250 staff. The company said the decision to close the London-based operation was because it has been “historically loss-making”.

“Having delivered strong cashflow during the period, the group is ideally positioned to maintain this focus, and the board is therefore confident that Finsbury is well-equipped to deliver growth and shareholder value going forward,” stated the company today {22 November).

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