Kerry Group has reported like-for-like sales growth of just 1% despite strong performances from its Richmond sausages and Wall's pastry brands.

The Irish food giant said in its latest trading update that revenues were up 5.9% in the three months to 31 March.

But after net gains from acquisitions and disposals and a 1.6% adjustment for currency changes, like-for-like growth stood at just 1%.

In the UK market, the group’s chilled ready meals had outperformed market growth, Kerry said, while it also achieved “good growth” through ready-to-cook products.

But while cheese and spreads performed well, profitability suffered due to higher input costs this year. The group’s frozen foods business had also been hit.

“Exports of frozen ready meals from Ireland to the UK market declined due to competitive issues arising from the exchange rate and the level of promotional activity in the UK market,” the company said.

The group said it was confident of delivering increased dividends for shareholders over those paid out in 2009.

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