Northern Foods announced a “strong performance” in its Bakery division in its full year results to 28 March 2009.
Revenue increased in its bakery division by 5.4% to £216.m (2007/08: £205.m). Investment in its Vinnie campaign for Fox’s biscuits helped improve awareness and distribution of the brand, but the firm said “competitive pressure in the puddings market will bring challenges”.
Revenue in its Chilled division rose 1.1% to £486.8m, however there was slightly lower volume growth in sandwiches and salads due to the poor summer weather last year.
The firm said growth in its frozen division had been impacted by the strength of the euro as its manufacturing operations are based in Ireland. This, in addition to increased promotional activity in the division, saw total revenue rise 11% to £272.4m, compared to £245.4m for the comparable period last year.
Total group revenue was up 4.6% to £975.2m but profit before tax fell to £47.5m from £50.1m for the same 2007/08 period.
In a statement released by the company, it said business with discount retailers, or based around value products, now makes up around a fifth of the group’s sales.
Chief executive, Stefan Barden said the firm had delivered a resilient performance this year, in challenging economic conditions. Northern Foods has seen material costs rise around 12% on last year and energy costs increase approximately 64%.
“We anticipate that next year will be equally challenging, with the continuation of food inflation and competitive pressures. Our operational and financial strengths position us well to benefit when markets recover,” said Barden.