Ice cream producer Richmond Foods has reported healthy annual figures, despite the soggy summer's poor impulse ice cream sales. The company's turnover for the 53 weeks ending 1 October 2000 grew 36% to £70.6m, due mainly to the £19m acquisition of Allied Frozen Foods' (AFF) ice cream business in May this year. Pretax profits were up 25% to £3.77m and operating profits were up 26% to £5.06m. Chairman Brian Fidler said he expected Richmond's turnover to double by the end of the financial year, as the company had strengthened its ice cream production at the right time. Fidler, who will hand over to deputy chairman Ross Warburton in January 2001, said the take home ice cream market was the growth area, up 4%. Impulse sales, particularly of water based ice lollies ­ Richmond's previous strength ­ were in decline. The AFF acquisition means that Richmond Foods now claims a 63% share of the supermarket own label ice cream market, which accounts for 36% of all ice cream sold. The company also claims it has improved its impulse market share from 3.8% to 4.2%. "We have a broad base of high quality supermarket customers, as well as a wider product range," said Fidler. He said the company was well placed to deliver growth in its chosen market position of "preferred full-line supplier of own label ice cream to key retailers." {{NEWS }}