Chef Heston Blumenthal and Salter products

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Household goods manufacturer Ultimate Products has warned that sales have continued to slow following a “disappointing” Spring.

The owner of Salter, Beldray and Kleeneze said sales had slowed further in its third quarter from a 4% drop in the first half of its financial year.

In the three months to 30 April, its revenues were down 7% year-on-year as sales continued to be hampered by weak consumer demand and longer supply lead times.

The company said it is sensible to assume that these trading conditions will continue throughout Q4.

Therefore, it expects full year revenues to be at least £156m, with gross margin being in line with last year, and Adjusted EBITDA to be in a range of £17.5-18.5m.

However, it said that, as the year progresses, it is seeing the gradual resumption of normal ordering patterns from our retailer customers as the overstocking issues brought about by the pandemic subside.

The increase in forward ordering by retailers has primarily been benefitting its forward order book for its 2025 financial year and it is seeing significant growth over the 2024 order book.

CEO Andrew Gossage commented: “It is disappointing that Spring has seen continued poor demand from consumers, which has adversely affected sales in the current quarter. Our assumption is that these challenging conditions will persist in the short-term and so impact our FY24 outcome.

“In contrast, the order book for FY25, at this early stage, is significantly ahead of FY24 as retailers continue to increase their forward orders as the overstocking issues brought about by the pandemic subside and consumer confidence builds as we see a return to real wage growth. As such, we remain confident in the Group’s medium-term prospects.”

Morning update

Drinks player C&C Group has delayed the publication of its annual results.

The owners of the Tennent’s, Magners and Bulmers Ireland brands, and Matthew Clark and Bibendum Wine, said the announcement scheduled for 23 May has been deferred.

It said it needed additional time to complete a “review of certain non-cash accounting measurements relating to previous financial periods”.

However, it re-affirmed its guidance of an expected underlying operating profit outcome of €60m in line with current market expectations.

C&C also re-affirmed its intention to return €150m to shareholders over the next three years within its stated leverage range given its “increased confidence in the medium-term outlook for the business, together with its strong cash generation and conversion”.

In wider economic news, the UK has exited recession with GDP growth of 0.6% in the first quarter of 2024.

That higher than expected growth followed a decline of 0.3% in the final quarter of 2024 and 0.1% in the third quarter.

Compared with the same quarter a year ago, GDP is estimated to have increased by 0.2% in the first quarter.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is up another 0.5% to 8,423.9pts.

Risers include Deliveroo, up 2.3% to 129.5p, McBride, up 2% to 113.2p and Ocado, up 1.6% to 359.5p.

Fallers include C&C Group, down 2.5% to 167.5p following today’s announcement, Naked Wines, down 2.5% to 50.7p and Premier Foods, down 0.7% to 165.8p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed up yesterday 0.3% to another record closing high of 8,381.3pts.

Risers yesterday included Glanbia, up 4.5% to €18.44, Virgin Wines, up 4.4% to 48p, Naked Wines, up 3.4% to 52p, PZ Cussons, up 3.3% to 105.6p, Domino’s Pizza Group, up 3% to 330p and McBride, up 2.3% to 111p.

The day’s fallers included PayPoint, down 2.4% to 540p, AG Barr, down 1.7% to 580p, WH Smith, down 1.1% to 1,090p, Cranswick, down 0.9% to 4,330p and THG, down 0.6% to 63.6p.