Elaine Watson
"Accelerated" NPD and fewer, more impactful promotions will tackle continuing problems in Northern Foods' troubled biscuits division, promised chief executive Jo Stewart.
Speaking as a "disappointing" performance in biscuits overshadowed an otherwise positive set of full-year results at the Goodfella's pizza to chilled food group, Stewart said more money would be pumped into above-the-line spend on Fox's biscuits, although costs would be cut elsewhere in the division.
A new range of healthier biscuits and new products under the Fox's Creations brand would help drive the recovery, he said. "There was far more volume on deal last year, and the deals were getting deeper and deeper, until eventually you are just wasting your money.
"It may be we need to run fewer promotions, but really engage people with more instore features."
Stewart declined to comment on speculation Northern was looking for buyers for branded businesses including Fox's, Dalepak and chilled distribution arm NFT.
Analysts said the City was "running out of patience. The top line is good ­ but they can't convert capex into earnings."
Pre-tax profit for the year to March 31 before exceptionals and goodwill was down 3.5% to £97.5m with sales on continuing operations up 5% to £1.42bn.

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