Dairy Crests five key brands saw sales rise 10%

Dairy Crest's five key brands saw sales rise 10%

Brands including Cathedral City cheese and Country Life butter have helped lift Dairy Crest's profits ahead of expectations, the UK dairy group said today (2 February).

The company said sales of its five key brands - which also include St Hubert Omega 3, Clover and Frijj - had grown by 10% in the nine months to the end of December.

Cost control also boosted profits. Dairy Crest, which has closed bottling operations and agreed to sell a stake in an Irish firm in recent months, said it had "identified potential efficiency savings" at a spreads factory in Kirkby.

Dairy Crest's nine-month pre-tax profits are "slightly ahead of expectations" but revenues, excluding joint ventures, were down 1% due to lower sales of commodities and milk to "non-major" retail customers.

Chief executive Mark Allen said: "We are encouraged by the strong progress we have made so far this year and anticipate that we will maintain our momentum into the fourth quarter. We remain cautious about the trading environment for 2010 but the improvements we have made to our business during 2009 leave us well positioned to cope with the challenges."

Shares in Dairy Crest were up 1.3% at 342p at 09:08 GMT this morning.