Own-label pizza specialist Stateside Foods has grown full-year sales and profits as cost controls and easing commodity prices boosted its performance.
In the year to 29 February Stateside, which in recent times has supplied fresh pizzas to Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Aldi, grew sales by 6.1% to £125.7m despite the “challenging” UK retail market.
This growth comes on top of 6.9% growth in the 2014/15 financial year, when revenues rose from £100.8m to £118.5m.
Profits were also up, with operating profits up 19.3% to £13.5m and pre-tax profits up almost 25% to £12m. Gross margin increased from 21.8% to 24.1%.
Stateside said this increase in profitability was driven by its continued focus on cost control and an easing of commodity prices from record highs during the period.
It added that it is benefitting from becoming “a good supplier at both ends of our market – being the lowest cost manufacturer at one end and having excellent NPD to develop highly regarded premium products at the other”.
During the year Stateside again won the gold award at The Grocer Own Label Awards in the chilled pizza category with Aldi’s Specially Selected Spicy Italian Schiacciata Salami Pizza.
It picked up the same award in 2005 for its Co-operative Truly Irresistible Kashmiri Butter Chicken, Red Onion & Spinach Pizza.
“We continued to invest heavily in our facilities in order to keep pace with the growth in market demand,” Stateside added. “Our ability to do this, with the strength of our holding company, is a key factor in differentiating us from the rest of the market.”
Stateside Foods is a wholly owned subsidiary of the German Freiberger Group and boasts around 35% of the UK chilled pizza market.
However, Stateside warned its profits could be “significantly” reduced by potentially increased costs of raw materials and exchange rate volatility.
“The UK market is becoming ever more price aggressive as the structure of the retail market changes,” it said. “This makes it difficult to pass on any price pressure from our suppliers.”
Almost all of Stateside’s revenues was derived from the UK last year with just £574k of its £125.7m of sales coming from overseas.
Headcount rose from 721 to 800 during the year as production staffing levels grew from 662 to 740 people to fulfil increased demand.