Associated British Foods has reported 8% sales growth in the third quarter – boosted by a significant improvement in the grocery division.
After grocery sales grew just 1% in the first half of the year, ABF reported 7% growth in the third quarter ending 22 June.
The key to the step change in performance was the winning of a major supply contract with The Co-operative Group from Premier Foods. ABF’s Allied Bakeries, which makes the Kingsmill brand, began supplying The Co-op in April.
ABF also reported that Twinings Ovaltine maintained strong growth and that Ryvita and Jordans were in volume growth.
Outside grocery, ABF said Primark grew sales 20% in the quarter – although it said like-for-likes were subdued because of the cold weather in March and April. It added that there was a marked improvement in May and June.
Sugar revenues declined 15% largely because of a reduced crop and a late start to the season.
Shares in ABF climbed 6% to 1925p in early trading on Thursday.