Greencore warns UK market showing little or no growth

Kasmira Jefford
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group Greencore yesterday said a “challenging UK food market” has resulted in flat like-for-like sales in the first quarter of the year.

The company, which makes prepared meals and sandwiches for retailers such as Tesco and Asda, said sales at its convenience food division rose 2.5 per cent to £285.8m in the 13 weeks to 28 December 2012.

Its ingredients division, which represented six per cent of group sales last year, suffered a 17.9 per cent fall in sales to £13.1m.

Greencore said it completed the restructuring of pudding maker Uniq, which it ate up in 2011 for £113m. It also sold its chilled desserts facility in Minsterley to Müller Dairy UK in the period.

In the US, Greencore said it performed well with revenues more than doubling thanks to acquisitions it made last year. The company also confirmed that it has started to supply Starbucks on the east coast of the US this month.

Commenting on the outlook for the coming year Greencore said market conditions continued to be challenging, particularly in the core UK market which showed little or no volume growth.

“We expect this to remain the case for the foreseeable future,” it added.