Northern Foods sales rise nearly 5% in year

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — Northern Foods P.L.C., maker of Fox’s biscuits, said underlying sales in the fiscal year ended March 28 rose 4.7%, reflecting price increases of 4.4% and flat volume.

Stefan Barden, chief executive officer of Northern Foods, in a trading update for the full year, said the company has "adapted the business successfully to the new retail environment" and is "benefiting from our operational and financial strengths."

The company’s bakery division grew 10.4% in the fourth quarter and 5.5% for the full year, driven by both price and volume.

"Our Fox’s brand continues to build on the benefits from the ‘Vinnie’ TV advertising campaign that ran on radio and TV to the end of 2008," the company said. "The group is also continuing with the evaluation of an investment in a world class biscuits manufacturing facility."

In the frozen division, underlying revenue rose 2.2% for the quarter and 2.5% for the full year.

"Our improvement plan for frozen continues," Northern Foods said. "The re-launch of San Marco pizza and McDougall’s frozen pies during the period will build on our proposition to target the cash conscious consumer."

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