Northern Foods chief executive Jo Stewart is optimistic that M&S's troubles will not impact on his business. Over exposure to Marks & Spencer, which provides about 30% of Northern's business, is not a cause for concern, Stewart emphasised. "Our growth via M&S has outpaced the 3.7% sales growth figure they posted for the whole food business." Posting a 3.9% rise in pre-tax profit to £104.1m for the year to March 31 on sales up 2.9% to £1.3bn, the group said sales to multiples were driving top line growth at the company. The group is launching a raft of new products onto the trade in the coming weeks, from a Galaxy Caramel trifle under licence for Mars, noodleboxes', savoury wraps and new organics lines for M&S and new Taste the Difference quiche lines and hot pies for Sainsbury. The Goodfella pizza pie range has also been relaunched. Although the figures were in line with expectations, some analysts said Northern would struggle to pass on rising commodity prices to its demanding multiple customers. Likewise, improving margins in an environment where the cost base is rising could prove difficult, said Lehman Bros analyst Nick Sochovsky. {{NEWS }}