Northern Foods sales climb 1%

by Eric Schroeder
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LONDON — Northern Foods P.L.C., in an interim management statement covering 14 weeks ended April 3 and 52 weeks to the same date, said underlying sales in the fiscal year rose 1%, reflecting volume growth of 1.8%.

Sales within the company’s bakery division grew 4.1% in the fourth quarter and 3% for the full year.

“Our Fox’s Biscuits brand increased its market position following the Christmas trading period and moved up to No. 2 in the U.K., with a brand share of 10.7%,” the company said. “Our major biscuits investment, announced in November 2009, is on track to deliver earnings growth and will further strengthen our competitive position.”

In the frozen division, underlying revenue fell 11.7% for the quarter and 9.3% for the full year, dragged down by the company’s decision to exit low-margin business and eliminate complexity.

“We are now focused on more profitable sales growth, with investment in our new Goodfella’s pizza range and a TV backed brand relaunch starting in April 2010,” Northern Foods said. “The roll-out of our McDougalls pie brand, supported by our ‘Better than Bird’s Eye’ promotion, continues within this very competitive market segment.”

Northern Foods plans to report its full-year financial results on June 1.

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