Price rises drive sales for Premier

Premier Foods, the owner of Hovis and Batchelors, has reported an increase in revenue for the first half of the year driven by price increases aimed at offsetting rising ingredient costs.

The food giant says that group sales rose by 7% over the period and that group trading profits remain in line with the first half of last year. Sales in its grocery and chilled divisions rose by 2% over the first half of 2008, with the later attributed to strong sales of meat alternative Quorn.

Sales in its baking and milling division rose by 16% year-on-year due to price rise across its bread and flour ranges. It adds that sales of flagship bread brand Hovis have stabilised over the first half of the year but at lower levels than during the same period in 2007. It is proposing the closure of its Rotherham Mill following a review of the flour milling operations and it is currently in consultation with staff.

Robert Schofield, Premier chief executive, says: “We have good forward sight of inflationary pressures and have plans in place to mitigate them as they occur.”

He adds that its expectations for the second half of the year remain unchanged as it hoped to benefit from the review of its manufacturing, price increases and the continued rejuvenation of Hovis.

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