Dairy Crest performance up thanks to Country Life

DAIRY Crest yesterday said that market-beating performances by brands including Cathedral City cheese and Country Life butter helped profits rise five per cent.

The dairy giant reported a seven per cent rise in sales for its five key brands, while the volume of milk sold to major retailers jumped nine per cent after a new supply deal with Tesco.

With the company’s milk&more doorstep delivery service recording weekly sales of more than £1m for the first time, Dairy Crest said profits adjusted for one-off items rose to £87.6m in the year to 31 March.

The improvement came despite a £400m rise in milk costs over the period, while other commodity input costs such as vegetable oil, fuel and packaging are forecast to be around £25m higher this year.

Dairy Crest shares, which have risen 14 per cent over the past year, closed down 1.5 per cent at 401.6p.