Despite pressures in the UK market, a strong continental European performance has helped McBride produce a sales increase of 3% on last year.

The supplier of over 20m private label household and personal care products to Europe’s leading retailers announced a turnover of £501.3m, for the year ended June 30, 2004.

A pre-tax profit increase of 27.9% to £33.5m, before exceptional items, was attributed to a 5.8% increase in sales in the continental market to £286.7m and continued operational improvements across the group.

In the more mature market in the UK, sales dropped by 0.8% to £210.5m, reflecting price deflation and increasingly tougher competition.

McBride said that one of the most significant achievements since December 2000 has been cash generation and the dramatic lowering of net debt.

It added that the overall results demonstrated the continuing strength of the company and that since the year end, trading has been satisfactory.