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Premier Foods hails strong festive trading as sales jump 14%

(Sharecast News) - Premier Foods, the food manufacturer behind brands like Mr Kipling, Bisto and Ambrosia, said it is on track to hit profit forecasts this year after a solid third quarter with double-digit sales growth across the group. Sales in the three months to 30 December were up 14.4% over last year, as group market share rose 121 basis points, helped by lower promotional price points introduced in the quarter.

Grocery sales were up 11.9%, with the Flavourings and Seasonings category - which houses Bisto, Oxo and Paxo - in particular seeing a strong festive season; Branded Sweet Treats sales jumped 17.1%, helped by Cadbury cake sales (sold under a licence) and big gains for Mr Kipling mince pies; while the International division grew by 11%.

Chief executive Alex Whitehouse said Premier Foods delivered a "very strong performance in our important third quarter".

"Festive favourites such as Bisto, Oxo and Paxo contributed to our biggest ever Christmas, as consumers enjoyed not only the core ranges but new products such as Bisto Best meat free gravy and Paxo Chicken and Bacon stuffing. We sold nearly 190 million mince pies, 4 million more than last year, helped by the new Mr Kipling 'Best Ever' Signature mince pies."

In its outlook statement, Premier Foods said it is "well on track to deliver against its previously raised profit expectations".

The company added that a full resolution of its pensions schemes is expected within three years, "which will open up a range of value enhancing opportunities to further accelerate shareholder value".

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