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Mr Kipling campaign powers Premier Foods growth

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Mr Kipling campaign powers Premier Foods growth

An illustration of a Mr Kipling Cherry Bakewell

(Reuters) - Bisto gravy and OXO cube maker Premier Foods <PFD.L> reported higher group sales in the first quarter as its Mr Kipling cakes and Batchelors brands benefited from a TV advertising push.

The company said group sales rose 1.1% in the 13 weeks ended June 29, helped by a 10% rise in Mr Kipling sales, which was relaunched last year.

Group sales in Britain rose 2.6%, while international sales fell 18% as sales in Ireland slowed due to the unwinding of Brexit related stock in Irish customers' supply chains.

The company said it expected the international business to return to sales growth in the coming quarters, even as it continues with its strategic review.

Premier Foods decided to review options earlier this year after former boss Gavin Darby left in January.

He was under shareholder pressure following a drop in the share price after a takeover attempt by U.S. food maker McCormick & Co Inc <MKC.N> fell through three years ago.

The Ambrosia rice pudding maker is still on the lookout for a permanent chief executive.

The company said Cadbury cake sales grew in the UK because of the later timing of Easter compared to last year and improved seasonal ranges.

Premier said to support the demand growth in Mr Kipling, it would launch a new range of 'Signature' cakes in the second quarter.

The company, which stuck to its full-year guidance, said it expects better performance in the second half of the year.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham)