‘Challenging’ trading continues for Cranswick

Cranswick has reported strong gains in fresh pork and bacon in the first quarter of this year, although it said that trading remains “more demanding than usual”.

Underlying like-for-like sales increased by 5% for the three months to 30 June 2011, although total sales for the first quarter, from 1 April 2011 to 25 July 2011, were down 2% on the same time last year, to £195m. The company said this reflected business transferred to Farmers Boy (Deeside) Limited.

The first-quarter interim management statement showed that categories delivered strong growth, with a continued rise in sandwiches and sausages. Underlying sales in cooked meats were ahead of the same period last year, but sales of Continental products were lower than in the same period last year.

The Cranswick statement said: “Trading during the first quarter has been challenging, with the company having to manage significant raw material price inflation during a period in which market conditions have remained extremely demanding.

“The extent of and time lag in recovering these rising input costs, together with other inflationary pressures, are expected to impact the company’s operating margin during the first half. As a consequence, the Board now expects operating profits for the first half of the financial year to be lower than those of the corresponding period last year.”

However, the company said it remained “confident in the continued long-term success and development of the business”.

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