Branded sales fell by 1.4%, while group sales were down by 1.6% at £166.2M, compared with the same period of last year.
But the business reported market share gains in Cake, Ambient Desserts and Flavourings and Seasonings.
Sweet treats were also said to have delivered rising volumes and sales, after recent brand investment.
Premier’s ceo Gavin Darby said: “We are encouraged by the continued good volume and value response of our brands in those areas where we have focused our investment, although branded sales in the quarter were impacted by the earlier timing of Easter.
Reduction in net debt
“While the business environment remains challenging, our expectations for the year, including a significant reduction in net debt, remain unchanged.”
The business previously restructured its reporting lines in two divisions; Grocery – which accounted for about 72% of revenues – and Sweet Treats, which accounted for about 28% of sales. Listed within the two main categories were branded and non-branded sales.
Non-branded sales were £0.5M lower during the quarter, with a strong performance in Sweets Treats offset by declines in Grocery.
Slightly lower branded sales were impacted by the earlier timing of Easter, which affected both the Cake and Flavourings and Seasonings categories. “This Easter effect is equivalent to approximately 1.5% of branded sales, and therefore taking this into account, branded sales would have otherwise delivered a broadly flat result in the quarter,” according to Premier.
“This Easter effect is equivalent to approximately 1.5% of branded sales ...”
New product launches
The Sweet Treats business was said to have benefited from renewed focus and marketing investment, delivering both volume and value share growth. New product launches over the coming months are expected to further boost sales.
In the Grocery business, Bisto and Oxo sales performed well, while Loyd Grossman sales were held back due to re-phasing of an annual promotional plan.
Overall market share was broadly flat across its categories in the quarter, with gains in Cake, Flavourings and Seasonings and Ambient Desserts offset by weaker performances in Cooking Sauces and Light Meals.
“These trends are in line with management expectations and reflect relative levels of marketing and innovation investment by the company in the respective categories over the last 12 months,” said the business.
Meanwhile, read why one leading city analyst concluded the business had significant investment potential after a visit to its Sweet Treats facility in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
Premier Foods: what was up and what’s down in Q1
- Flavourings and Seasonings
- Ambient Desserts
- Cooking Sauces
- Light Meals