Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods expects lockdown sales boom to continue

Mr Kipling manufacturer Premier Foods has said it expects strong demand for its store cupboard items will continue throughout the start of 2021 as customers remain stuck at home.

The food group said it expects profits to rise after “exceptional” trading over the key Christmas quarter.

Premier told investors on Tuesday that trading profits are set to jump by at least 12% to between £145 million and £150 million for the year to March 2021.

Alex Whitehouse, chief executive officer, said sales increased as more households bought Bisto, Oxo and Paxo over the Christmas period, as more meals were eaten at home amid restrictions.

The group said online sales jumped 90% over the quarter to December 26 as total sales increased by 9%.

However, this represented a slight slowdown in revenue growth after a rise of about 15% in the first half of the financial year.

The group said its branded products had strong growth during the period, with Sharwoods and Batchelors two standout performers during the past quarter.

Mr Whitehouse said: “We continue to deploy our branded growth model strategy, launching a series of new products in the quarter such as Sharwood’s low sugar stir fry sauces and supporting five of our major brands with TV advertising.”

“Together with excellent execution both in store and online, we continue to take market share in volume and value terms.

“Looking to the remainder of the year, out-of-home eating is likely to remain heavily restricted and we therefore expect to see continued high levels of consumer demand for our products.”

Shares in the company were 4% lower at 103.64p in early trading.