Hovis owner blames heat for slowdown

 
Kasmira Jefford
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SHARES in Premier Food plunged 16 per cent yesterday after the owner of Hovis bread and Mr Kipling cakes blamed the summer heatwave for the sharp slowdown in growth.

Underlying sales fell by 3.2 per cent to £283m in the three months to 30 September compared with a 0.9 per cent fall in the first half.

Chief executive Gavin Darby said: “The intensity of promotional activity in our markets remains high while our categories were significantly impacted by the hotter weather in July and early August.”

Premier Foods has over the years been selling non-core brands to help cut debt and investing in its eight so-called power brands including Bisto and Ambrosia.

These brands saw sales growth slow to two per cent, down from with four per cent in the first half.