Premium products boost Finsbury sales

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Bread Flour

UK bakery Finsbury Foods managed to increase sales by an
average of 17 per cent across all divisions, despite a ten per
cent rise in ingredient costs.

In a trading statement for the first twenty weeks of its financial year, the company said yesterday that sales were up 18 per cent for Memory Lane cakes, and 27 per cent for the newly combined businesses of California Cakes and Campbells Cakes. The results suggest that the company's strategy over the last few years of pushing products such as specialty breads and low fat cakes is working, as Finsbury has managed to boost sales despite having to pay more for butter, dairy products, flour and eggs "In line with our expectations, sales growth has continued strongly in all of our businesses,"​ said Finsbury chairman Maurice Saatchi, adding that the company had already recovered part of the rising commodity costs. Growth in the Lightbody novelty and party cakes division was slightly slower at eight per cent, however the company promised to "continue building share in the celebration cake market". ​Sales also increased in the bread divisions, going up by 15 per cent in the Nicholas and Harris business. For the United Central bakery, Finsbury could only post sales for the full month of October 2007, up 19 per cent, as the manufacturing plant has only become operational again after an accidental fire that cost the firm £2.6m (€3.6m). Looking forward, the company will focus on both premium brands, such as organic and specialty breads, as well as healthy products like low fat cakes and gluten-free rolls. Only last month the company acquired Anthony Alan Foods, and now distributes Weight Watcher cakes across the UK. Dave Brooks, Finsbury chief executive, told at the time that the Weight Watchers brand is the largest low fat cake range in the country, currently holding a 58 per cent market share that is increasing 15 per cent year on year. Turnover for the year ending 30 June 2007 increased 50 per cent to £109.8m (€158m), while operating profit increased 95 per cent to £5.4m (€7.8m), from £2.8m (€4m) the previous year. According to Mintel, the UK bread and cake markets are together worth over £4.5bn (€6.7m).

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