Hovis has continued to build its market share according to Premier Foods’ interim results for the 16 weeks to 25 April 2009.

In its Hovis division, sales in its baking business were up 6% on the comparable period in 2008, due to strong branded sales growth offsetting lower volumes of own-label bread.

However, bulk flour sales fell, primarily due to its exit from a low-margin flour contract during 2008, said the firm. This meant overall sales for the division were 4% lower than the same period last year.

Chief executive Robert Schofield said Hovis – its biggest brand – continued to make excellent progress following its relaunch last year: “It is now the clear number two in the wrapped bread market, with a market share of over 25%.” He added that further activity and innovation was planned for the brand throughout 2009.

Premier also confirmed the sales of Le Pain Croustillant, Sofrapain SAS and Martine Spécialités SAS have now been completed.

Total group sales were up 3%, although a decrease in the bulk sale of flour pushed down overall sales, which rose 6% excluding flour.

In terms of business restructuring, Premier transferred its Charnwood Foods frozen pizza base business from its Chilled division to the Hovis division.