Parsley Box

Parsley Box founder Adrienne MacAuley and CEO Kevin Dorren

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DTC meal delivery firm Parsley Box has created a managing director role to free up CEO Kevin Dorren to focus on strategic growth opportunities.

Simon Russell will be responsible for customer service, product development and the day-to-day running of the UK business.

Russell spent more than 20 years at the John Lewis Partnership in various leadership roles and prior to joining Parsley Box he an his own retail consultancy advising investors, retailers and start-ups on omnichannel strategy, digital transformation and turnaround, growth and financial sustainability.

The group, which provides ambient ready meals for the over-65 market, also revealed plans to raise further funding in the first quarter of the new year to support its investment plan.

Shares in the group plunged 15% to 36.7p as markets opened this morning - a long way off its 200p IPO price back in March when the business was valued at almost £85m, compared with less than £15m today.

In a trading update this morning, Parsley Box also said it was in line to deliver full-year revenues of marginally more than the £25m forecast.

In September, the business warned it had been hit by stock availability issues as a result of supply chain disruption and labour shortages. It took the decision to reduce its marketing spend, which had the knock-on effect of lowering its growth expectations for the year.

Today, it said it was worked collaboratively with its key suppliers and received good support in rebuilding stock levels over recent weeks.

The board continued to monitor the impact of the Omicron variant on the supply chain and remained cautious about balancing marketing activity and stock availability in the near term to continue managing customer service levels.

Marketing spend has been cut by about one third in the second half, compared with the first six months of the year, resulting in approximately 20% lower order numbers and therefore revenue.

The lower stock levels impacted average order values for much of the second half. However, the group said these had been recovering well in recent weeks as stock availability improved.

Dorren said: “”I am pleased to announce that we have delivered on our revised 2021 plan.

“The supply chain issues, widely felt across the food sector, need hour-by-hour focus and Simon’s appointment will allow us to continue providing excellent service to our existing customers, without delaying our longer term plans to deliver a platform for independent living.

“At the IPO in March, we stated our intention to appoint high-calibre talent to build the right infrastructure for future growth and Simon will play a key part in this. I am looking forward to announcing the investment plan in the new year to outline the next steps in Parsley Box’s development.”

Morning update

General Mills has warned of significant input cost inflation and elevated costs related to supply chain disruptions.

The Cheerios, Old El Paso and Häagen-Dazs maker missed its profits expectations for the second quarter as a result.

Shares in the US group fell by almost 4% to $65 on the back of the update.

Organic net sales increased 5% to $5bn in the three months ended 28 October as demand for its products remained elevated.

However, operating profits slumped 13% to $800m.

Chief executive Jeff Harmening said: “We continued to compete effectively and execute well this quarter in a challenging operating environment.

“In the face of an unprecedented combination of input cost inflation and supply chain disruptions, we’re moving quickly to keep our trusted brands on store shelves for consumers while driving net price realization to protect our bottom line.

“As a result, we now expect to meet or exceed each of our financial targets for the year.

“We also advanced our portfolio reshaping efforts in the quarter, and we’re more confident than ever that General Mills will emerge from the pandemic a stronger company better geared to generate profitable growth in line with our ‘Accelerate’ strategy.”

The FTSE 100 slipped back 0.2% this morning to 7,286.16pts.

THG continued to make a recovery, with shares up 3.8% to 223.9p, while Just Eat Takeaway rose 3.2% to 4,150p and Hellofresh climbed 1.4% to €69.16.

Fallers this morning included Nichols, down 2.4% to 1,400p and Hotel Chocolat Group, down 0.9% to 466p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 bounced back from Monday’s slump to close 1.4% higher at 7,297.41pts yesterday.

There was little in the way of company news to influence share movements in the food and drink sector.

Risers included Associated British Foods, up 3.8% to 1,984.6p, Just Eat Takeaway, up 3.7% to 4,020p, and McColl’s Retail Group, up 2.6% to 11.8p.

Devro, McBride and Hellofresh all ended in the red, down 6.4% to 191.8p, 4.5% to 55p and 4.1% to €68.06.