The price of shares in FTSE 250 Premier Foods (LON:PFD) slipped 5.19% to 102.40p (as of 12:50 GMT) despite sales for the quarter ended 26th December growing by 9%. Management said that the firm had outperformed the sector and that they would be increasing investment in the final three months of this financial year.
CEO Alex Whitehouse commented: “Quarter 3 proved to be another period of exceptional growth, with Group sales up 9.0% and branded sales up 12.1%, as people turned to our product ranges in the face of heightened restrictions on out of home eating. Our colleagues have carried out a magnificent job supplying this elevated level of demand, keeping the business fully operational while at the same time retaining strict measures to keep each other safe. 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 instore and online, we continue to take market share in volume and value terms. Online sales were up 90% in the quarter, ahead of the broader channel and we saw higher household penetration for brands such as Bisto, Oxo and Paxo, as more meals were eaten at home this Christmas.
“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. With more brand investment to come, we now expect Trading profit to be in the range of £145-£150m this year and Net debt/EBITDA5 to fall below 2.0x by the year end“.