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Pork producer Cranswick has said that a strong barbecue season and more cooked breakfasts during the pandemic helped to spark sales and profits over the past year.
Shares in the East Yorkshire-based food business jumped after it revealed plans to raise its dividend and staff bonuses after the strong trading performance.
Cranswick lifted its dividend to 70p and topped up its staff Covid bonus by £400 to £900 for the past year.
It came as the group told shareholders that adjusted pre-tax profits increased Cranswick by 26.8% to £129.7 million for the year to March 27.
The company, which also has a growing poultry business, said the profit uptick was driven by higher revenues, which rose by 13.9% to £1.9 billion for the period.
Cranswick said that pandemic restrictions impacted its food service business, but it saw higher retail sales as grocery demand boomed.
It reported a like-for-like increase in fresh pork revenues as it hailed “record sales of pork joints over the Christmas period and a strong barbecue season”.
The group said its sausage, bacon and pastry business also performed well, reporting 11.5% growth as home working resulted in more full English breakfasts, while it also hailed strong sales of gammon around Christmas.
Adam Couch, chief executive officer of Cranswick, said business has also seen a “very positive start” to the new financial year”.
“We have delivered strong growth and made further strategic progress in a year of unparalleled challenge and complexity.
“We have supported our customers by delivering excellent service levels to ensure full availability of our products both in store and through the fast-growing online channel.
“Our outstanding performance would not have been possible without the incredible support of our colleagues across the business and I thank them for their continued commitment and dedication.”
Shares in the company were 5.5% higher at 3,921.2p in early trading.