Strong sales of biscuits and Christmas puddings has aided Northern Foods’ “good” trading performance for the 13 weeks to 1 January, 2011.

Like-for-like sales within the firm’s Bakery arm were up 5%, with its extended range of Christmas puddings well received by consumers, and exceptional demand for the Heston Blumenthal ‘Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding’, according to the firm.

Its Chilled division saw a 9.7% increase in like-for-like sales. However, Northern Foods reported a weak performance in Frozen, with like-for-like sales down 17.2%, while it rebuilds its Goodfella’s pizza brand.

Overall group like-for-like sales increased 2.3%.

Northern Foods’ new Branded and Chilled divisional structure, announced in October last year, is now in place. Its three existing divisions: Bakery, Chilled and Frozen, will become two: Branded and Chilled.

Its Branded division will comprise Goodfella’s Pizza, McDougalls and Holland’s Pies, Fox’s Biscuits and Matthew Walker Puddings, while its Chilled division will combine sandwiches and salads with ready meals and its British Airways supply business.

“We have again shown our ability to deliver innovative and best in class products to our customers and consumers, particularly in Chilled with our festive sandwiches, in Fox’s Biscuits and in Matthew Walker, all of which featured heavily in our Christmas trading,” commented acting chief executive Simon Herrick.