Mr Kipling turnaround drives Premier growth

A surge in sales of the previously ailing Mr Kipling brand has driven growth in Premier Foods’ revenue.

In welcome news for Premier boss Gavin Darby, who today faces a shareholder vote to decide if he remains chief executive, Mr Kipling sales have risen 14% year on year in the 13 weeks to 30 June 2018.

Premier said Mr Kipling had been boosted by a relaunch in March that included new-look packaging and TV advertising.

This contributed to an overall 7.6% rise in sales of branded products the company’s Sweet Treats division.

In contrast, branded Sweet Treat sales fell 3% year on year in Premier’s last full financial year.

However, it hasn't all been good news for the manufacturer’s cakes business, with sales of own-label lines down 5.4% as two customer contracts ended.

Across the total business, sales rose 1.7% in the quarter and 4.5% in the past half year.

The trading update comes ahead of the Premier Foods AGM being held today (18 July).

Oasis Management Company – Premier’s largest independent investor – has accused CEO Gavin Darby of driving the business into a “zombie-like state”, and plans to vote against his re-election. Premier said its board unanimously recommended shareholders vote in favour of re-electing Darby, adding that it “strongly believes” Darby is the best person to lead the company.

In a statement issued today, ahead of the AGM, Darby said: “Over the last six months, we have delivered sales growth of 4.5%, which goes to show that our strategy of product innovation and working closely with our strategic partnerships is delivering results.

“We are pleased to report another quarter of growth, with sales up +1.7% compared to last year. Our biggest brand, Mr Kipling, led the charge with an excellent performance on the back of its recent brand relaunch.”

Darby added that further branded innovation was planned for the months ahead, and that the company’s expectations for progress in the year remained unchanged.

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