Premier Foods plans NPD amid mixed results

Premier Foods revealed it is planning brand extensions and NPD in its Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cake brand ranges in the next two quarters, as it issued its latest trading statement.

Reporting its third quarter (Q3) results for the 13 weeks ended 29 December 2018, the group revealed that sales of Mr Kipling had continued their strong momentum following the relaunch earlier in the financial year.

Sales for Mr Kipling rose 5% in the quarter and were up 10% on a year-to-date basis, it said. Meanwhile, Cadbury cake sales in the UK were also up on the period, due to “an improved seasonal range and better in-store execution”.

“Looking ahead to the next couple of quarters, the group will launch a range of 30% less sugar Mr Kipling Angel and Chocolate slices, new Cadbury Caramel Mini Rolls and a platter of Cadbury Crème Egg cupcakes for Easter,” it revealed.

However, implementation challenges associated with its logistics programme hit overall Sweet Treats in Q3, with non-branded versions down 20.7% compared to the same period last year, while branded versions were up 2.7%, it said. Year-to-date Sweet Treats sales were up 5.7% for branded and down 18.1% for non-branded. Despite this, the company claimed customer service levels in the sector improved during the quarter and the Sweet Treats business exited a number of lower-margin seasonal and non-seasonal cake contracts.

“As we look to the fourth quarter, we expect to see a good performance from branded Sweet Treats,” said Premier chief executive Gavin Darby. “We have a good innovation plan lined up and our expectations for trading profit and adjusted earnings per share for the full year are unchanged.”

Overall group sales amounted to £255.6m during the third quarter of the year, down £5.8m or 2.2% on the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, UK grocery sales excluding international rose 2.7%, but the group took a hit on international sales, down 27% in Q3 as it “continued to work through the effect of high stocks of Cadbury cake in the Australian supply chain”.

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