Lagging bakery fails to dent Northern Foods

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Northern foods

Despite underperforming bakery operations, UK producer Northern
Foods has said trading is currently in line with expectations and
the group is on track to hit targets.

The company, who manufacture the Fox's biscuits brand, posted fourth quarter growth of 2.6 per cent in continuing revenue and a year to date revenue increase of 3.1 per cent. However, profits generated by the group's bakery business are weaker with a drop of 2.6 per cent in fourth quarter underlying continuing revenue and a 4.6 per cent decline throughout the year. Last year the company embarked on a restructuring plan to combat slipping profits, the strategy involved jettisoning non-core businesses. The group said in November selling operations in lower margin categories could generate revenues of €200 million. Northern Foods has also been concentrating on raising the profile of its long-standing luxury Fox's ranges. This year it expanded the line to include Naturally Fox's comprising of more indulgent flavours such as dark chocolate. In October last year, Fox's Delicious Cookies were launched and the company are hoping the increased product innovation will improve the brand's UK biscuit market share which, according to analysts Leatherhead International, is currently at 9 per cent. The company claims its overall biscuit share of over 7 per cent has remained stable over the past year, despite the 'heavily promoted market.'​ Chief executive Stefan Barden said: "The group has been successfully refocused and we enter the new financial year with a sound balance sheet and good opportunities to grow in our chosen markets. We will continue to focus on improving operational performance and in ensuring that we maintain the momentum we have developed in our chilled division." ​Final results for the year ending March 31 will be announced May 30.

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