Hovis has seen its sales rocket by over a fifth, according to Premier Foods’ third-quarter results.

For the 13 weeks to 26 September 2009, Hovis branded bread sales were up 22% compared to the same period last year. A spokesperson for Premier said the current financials reported compare largely to Hovis’ pre-September 2008 relaunch figures. But he added that its success story is due to Premier’s continued investment in its brands. "The company’s core focus has now moved from building scale, to really building their brands," he said.

According to Premier’s interim statement, the firm saw a significant decrease in retailer brand bread volumes, "as we elected to exit certain unprofitable contracts during the period". Total sales in its baking business increased by 3% in Q3, with 72% of its sales now branded, up from 63% last year.

Its bulk flour sales declined "due to lower wheat and wheat feed prices", resulting in a 2% drop in total sales for the Hovis division, which includes baking, milling and frozen pizza bases.

Hovis had dropped by 0.1% in market share compared to the 12 weeks ending 5 September 2009.