Lily’s Kitchen CEO David Milner

Premium petfood brand Lily’s Kitchen saw revenues jump to near £40m ahead of its acquisition by Nestlé on soaring export sales and strong growth in its home market.

Total turnover rose 28.5% to £39.9m in the year to 30 March 2020 – days before it was bought by Nestlé Purina from private equity firm L Catterton in a deal thought to be worth over £100m.

UK sales were up 25.6% to £35.3m while a focus on growing its international distribution saw Lily’s increase non-UK sales by 55% to £4.6m.

“Having invested in systems and new talent in 2018 and 2019, our growth has been both remarkable and consistent, with consecutive month-on-month sales growth. We were ahead of expectation for much of the year,” said Lily’s CEO David Milner.

“On a domestic front, we had several successful product launches including new treats ranges which was all backed up by more than doubling our international footprint and meeting more customer demand online.”

The company made a “planned” operating loss of £3.2m, down from £4.6m in the previous year, as it continued to fund growth.

Milner said that during lockdown the company had remained “well positioned to continue sales through all channels”. It was still committed to investing in product improvements, NPD and greater overseas distribution, he added.

“We’re still attracting more people to our brand as the premium natural category continues to be the fastest-growing sector in the petcare market,” he said.

“The fact remains that customers see and understand the difference feeding our food to their pets makes to them.”

The brand this month reformulated and revamped its dry dog and catfood ranges, rolling out “highly impactful” new packs featuring “a more contemporary design”.