Non-branded bakery sales were down 16.5% on the same period last year for Hovis, according to Premier Foods’ financial statement for the three months to 31 March 2011.

Branded sales increased by 1.6% in its Hovis division, while its Milling arm saw branded sales increase 15.2% and non-branded rise by 29%. The firm said its McDougalls flour sales had increased due to “a more competitive pricing strategy”.

Total branded sales across the division were up 2.3%, with non-branded up 4.1% – a total increase of 4.3% compared to Q1 of 2010.

Premier said its ‘Core’ brands had a difficult year, with all bar Cadbury Cakes registering lower volume and value, reflecting lower promotional spend year-on-year and competitor trends. It added that sales of Lyons cakes were down as a result of lost distribution.

The group’s total sales were down 3.1%, with volumes down 3.8%. Chief executive Robert Schofield, who has today announced his intention to retire – with a successor to be appointed no later than 28 April 2012 – said a key priority of the firm has been to obtain price increases in order to recover the cost of raw material inflation.

>>Hovis profits increase as wheat cost pressure rises