Dairy Crest chief executive Mark Allen insisted the company had “coped well” with the economic conditions and lower cream prices in its latest trading statement.

The dairy giant reported a 2% increase in like-for-like sales for the first three quarters of its financial year.

The figure includes an uplift of 8% for its five key brands – comprising Cathedral City, Country Life, St Hubert Omega 3, Clover and FRijj – in the third quarter.

Trading remained difficult in the company’s dairies division, where high milk purchase prices and lower cream selling prices had adversely affected profitability.

In November’s interim results announcement, Dairy Crest said it had a clear plan to increase profits and cut costs in the division during the second half of its financial year.

“Although we remain cautious about the economic environment we continue to manage the business proactively to meet the challenges we face,” said Allen.

See this weekend’s edition of The Grocer for more coverage of cream prices.