Northern Foods’ Bakery division put in a strong performance in its fourth quarter with underlying revenue up 10.4%. The firm said bakery had performed well over the Christmas trading period, with its Fox’s brand continuing to drive growth within the division.
Full year underlying revenue for the 52 weeks to 28 March, 2009, was up 5.5%, “driven by price and volume”. The company also said it was “continuing with the evaluation of an investment in a world class biscuits manufacturing facility”.
Its Chilled division saw the most growth with underlying revenue up 12.2% in the fourth quarter on the comparable period, while underlying sales for the year grew 5.5%. The firm said this division was holding strong during the recession and additional value lines of chilled pizza and sandwiches were launched over Q4.
Within its Frozen division, revenue was up slightly year-on-year (2.5%). The company is planning further improvements to its frozen range, which saw the exit of some “marginal own-label contracts in pastry and pizza”, but the company relaunched the San Marco pizza and McDougall’s frozen pies ranges during Q4 and said this would “build on our proposition to target the cash-conscious consumers”.
Group underlying sales for the fourth quarter rose 8.8% on the previous quarter and for the full year increased 4.7%. Stefan Barden, chief executive of Northern Foods, said: “In a tough market, Northern Foods is trading strongly and we anticipate that our full-year profit before tax will be in line with market expectations.”
The firm will report its full year financial results on 27 May, 2009.