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Premier Foods hit by end of lockdown home-cooking boom as sales slump

·1-min read
Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods had seen sales soar in lockdowns  (PA Media)
Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods had seen sales soar in lockdowns (PA Media)

Premier Foods, maker of store-cupboard staples from Mr Kipling cakes to Bisto gravy, has been hit by the end of Britain's lockdown home cooking boom.

The FTSE 250 firm saw sales soar in successive lockdowns, but growth has stalled. Today it revealed revenues of £394.1 million for the half-year to October 2 - down 6.5% on those seen in the same period in 2020.

Pre-tax profits slumped by 39.2% to £30.7 million, and earnings per share dropped from 5.1p to 2.5p.

Premier pointed out its sales are up 7.5% on 2019 levels, and highlighted the company's reduced debt levels.

The firm also said it is "successfully navigating" the soaring trucking, utilities, staffing and input costs being seen across the sector.

CEO Alex Whitehouse said Premier enters the second half "with strong momentum" and remains "firmly on track to deliver on our profit expectations for the full year".

Analysts at Peel Hunt labelled the slump from 2020 sales levels "unsurprising" and pointed to Premier's "healthy cash generation" and new ice cream and biscuit product launches as reason for optimism in the months ahead. ​

Shares fell 5.3%, or 6p, to 108p, on the update this morning.

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