McBride hit as competition knocks profits

Kasmira Jefford
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MCBRIDE, the household products manufacturer, yesterday reported a sharp fall in sales and profits, blaming weak European consumer demand and fierce competition among branded product makers.

The company, which issued a profits warning earlier this year, said pre-tax profits tumbled 21 per cent to £9.5m, down from £12.1m the previous year.

Sales fell 6.5 per cent to £761.4m, after the wind–down of its contract manufacturing business.

McBride is stepping back from contract manufacturing as an increasing number of cash-conscious shoppers opt to buy supermarkets’ own-brand label products, denting consumer demand for other brands.

Instead, it has been focusing on new product launches such as dishwasher tablets, which chief executive Chris Bull said have contributed to sales growth in private label of two per cent in the second half. That compared with a two per cent decline in the first half of the year.

Bull said despite tough conditions, it had made a “good start” to the year with trading in line with expectations.

“Although the economic environment remains challenging, we are seeing Private Label retail sales volumes grow in a number of our core markets,” he said.