Premier Foods sees 3% sales rise

Premier Foods, maker of brands including Hovis, Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy, has seen sales rise by 3% in the four months to April 25.

Sales in its baking division grew 6% during the period, which it attributes mainly to Hovis and the £15m relaunch of the brand last year.

Similarly, its chilled foods division enjoyed an 8% rise in sales, while its grocery division rose 6% driven by price hikes brought in last year.

Shares in Britain’s biggest food manufacturer lost two-thirds of their value last year, but have risen by 28% over the past three months. In March, it raised £379m of new equity. Private equity group Warburg Pincus took a 10% stake in the company, bringing in a total of £404m. It is part of its bid to cut its £1.7bn debt.

Chief executive Richard Schofield says its focus now is increasing its branded share of the categories it operates in through increased advertising, promotional support and new product development.

Premier relaunched its Hovis brand in September with new packaging and a two-minute TV ad created by Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy. It celebrated the brand’s 122nd anniversary, with the ad showing a young boy depicted in different eras running home after buying a loaf of Hovis.

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