Northern Foods reported a rise in like for like sales in the first half of the year but one-off restructuring costs meant the company posted a loss for the period.

The manufacturing giant grew like-for-like sales 2.7% in the 26 weeks to 2 October, although overall revenues were down to £453m from £466.9m last year.

Pre-tax profits totalled £9.6m, down from a mark of £10.4m in 2009. But costs from pension liabilities and restructuring the company meant Northern lost £9.5m over the six-month period.

News of the performance comes after Northern last month announced an overhaul of its management structure, streamlining six business divisions into just two: branded and chilled.

Growth in its chilled and bakery businesses offset what Northern called a “disappointing” performance in its frozen division, which recorded a £4.6m operating loss.

Chilled revenues were up slightly, driven by growth in ready meals, sandwiches and salads.

Northern said investment in the revamped Goodfella’s frozen pizza brand and higher input costs had dented profitability for the business.

“Whilst trading conditions remain tough, we are taking decisive actions to ensure Northern Foods remains well placed for these competitive and uncertain market conditions,” said chief executive Stefan Barden (pictured).

Read more
Northern shakes up divisional structure in drive for growth (9 October 2010)
Why the fellas at Northern Foods don’t feel too good (analysis; 24 July 2010)