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Premier Foods gets a roasting as warm weather hits sales

The stock has taken a bit of a bashing ... so has the gravy
Sunday lunch
It's been a bit on the hot side for roast dinners, even on a Sunday

Well at least Premier Foods PLC (LON:PFD) did not blame its disappointing trading update on Brexit; instead the British weather copped the blame.

The shares were in the soup, down more than a tenth, as the the Bisto and Oxo maker revealed unseasonably warm weather, especially in September, had depressed sales of gravy and stock. 

The Mr Kipling’s cakes group said its grocery business reported materially lower sales in the third quarter of the calendar year (the second quarter of Premier’s fiscal year), down 9.5% year-on-year, but stopped short of issuing a profits warning, explaining that careful management of costs meant the group remained confident of hitting its full-year expectations.

Sales over the second half of the financial year are expected to grow by two to four per cent year-on-year, said Gavin Darby, chief executive officer of Premier.  

"We are disappointed that our grocery business reported materially lower sales in the quarter due to warmer weather; particularly in September; however, our Sweet Treats and International businesses continued to demonstrate their strong momentum, delivering against our strategic priorities and growing over 6% and 13% respectively," Darby said.

"We remain very confident in our strategic progress, our customer relationships are strong and we have an extensive new product innovation programme planned for the balance of the year,” he added.

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