Hovis owner Premier Foods has posted a 10% rise in sales for the second half of the year, contributing to overall growth of 9% for the past 12 months.

Premier said sales of Hovis had risen by 13% for the year, buoyed by a high-profile relaunch of the brand, while pre-tax profits for the group are expected to total between £185m and £190m.

“We are pleased by the progress we have made in 2008 against the backdrop of an increasingly tough environment for the UK consumer,” said Premier chief executive Robert Schofield.

“Trading in the second half of the year has been good across a number of our grocery categories, with volume growth of both branded and retailer branded products. The manufacturing phase of our transformation programme is now complete… resulting in significant improvements in operational efficiency across our supply chain. [This] enables us to move our focus on to new product development and innovation.”

Earlier this week it emerged that Premier was looking for private equity investors to take a 40% stake in the company as it seeks to reduce its £1.6bn debt burden.

“Our review of our capital structure is progressing well, discussions with stakeholders are constructive and we will provide a further update with our preliminary results,” Schofield said.

Meanwhile, Premier confirmed it is in talks over the £8m sale of its Le Pain Croustillant and Sofrapain businesses to French group Nutrixo.