Premier Foods has said sales of its ‘power brands’ have grown for the fifth successive quarter.

In an interim management statement issued this morning, the company reported 3.5% year-on-year growth in its ‘power brands’ – such as Hovis, Sharwood’s, Bisto and Loyd Grossman – in the three months ending 31 March 2013. Total brand sales, excluding Premier’s milling business, have grown 2.2% over the period.

Premier CEO Gavin Darby told The Grocer much of the growth had come from the brands it had supported with advertising investment – including stocks and gravy brands Bisto and Oxo, and custard and desserts brand Ambrosia. He added that Sharwood’s had also been boosted by activity around the Chinese new year.

Darby, who joined the business this February following the departure of Michael Clarke, said marketing investment would be spread more evenly across 2013, rather than weighted to the beginning of the year as it had been in 2012.

Sales in Premier’s bread business (excluding milling) were up 0.8% year-on-year – and were set to benefit in Q2 from a Hovis pack redesign (pictured). The company said cost savings from a restructuring of the bread division – including the previously announced closure of three bakeries, two distribution centres, a mill and the shake-up of its logistics network – would offset the loss of a £75m Co-op contract that takes effect at the end of this month.

“Despite a continued challenging consumer environment, I believe we have the right strategies in place to make further progress this year, with expectations unchanged,” said Darby.