Shares at fresh prepared foods specialist Geest suffered as the company put out a cautious trading update warning of lacklustre growth in salads after a dismal early summer and operational problems at new bakery and pasta facilities in Barton.
However, analysts visiting Geest's new dedicated salads facility for M&S said the outlook remained bright, with new business likely to come from moves by Tesco and the Co-operative Group in the c-store sector, and strong growth in most of Geest's key markets.
Geest said full-year operating profit would be no less than last year's. Group sales for the 10 months to October were up 16%.
While sales growth in prepared salads improved from the 6% in the first half to over 10% in July-October, it is still some way behind the 18% growth the company was enjoying in the spring.
West LB Panmure analyst Charles Hall said: "The market took fright at the statement, but most of us didn't have to change our numbers."

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