Premier Foods has unveiled falling sales and profits for the past six months.

Sales for the period to 30 June were down by more than 5% to £1.18bn, while pre-tax profits slipped by 15% to £33m.

Branded products boosted sales by 0.5%, with key brands including Hovis and Mr Kipling both growing their market share. But that was offset by a sharp decline in non-branded sales, down almost 13% as volumes fell.

Premier, which has cut its debt by £110m in the past year to £1.365bn, said it remained on course to pay down a further £100m this year.

The company said it was “open-minded about disposals of assets if by doing so we can achieve our financial objective [of reducing debt by £100m a year] more quickly”. 

“These results reflect the actions we are taking in line with our trading strategy,” said Premier chief executive Robert Schofield.

“Our principal brands are growing in both volume and market share and our gross margins have risen. We are controlling costs tightly and have made good progress in strengthening our cash flow and reducing debt.”

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