Ireland-based food maker Greencore today (9 February) it has had a "strong start" to its financial year after enjoying rising sales.

The own-label supplier posted a 52.6% jump in revenue for the 17 weeks to 27 January due in part to the company's acquistion of UK firm Uniq in September.

Assuming Uniq had been part of Greencore in the corresponding period the previous year and, excluding the desserts lines the UK company has exited or is ending, the Irish group said sales were up 11.2%.

Greencore said its "legacy" businesses saw sales increase 13% thanks to "strong" volume growth across all categories.

It added: "The group has made a strong start to the financial year across its portfolio of businesses. We are particularly pleased with the performance of the Uniq businesses during a period of change and with the progress made to date on the integration.

"We expect the general economic and trading environment to remain challenging for the foreseeable future, however we remain confident in our ability to deliver good results for the year in line with our expectations."

Investec analyst Nicola Mallard said Greencore had made a "flying start" to its financial year.

"The growth rates for both Greencore and Uniq are clearly significantly in excess of what we are seeing from grocery generally and this reflects a number of factors," Mallard said.

"The group is lapping a period last year which saw some weather-led disruption, especially in food to go. This year, this disruption is absent and the generally milder climate seems to have boosted consumption in this category. Other factors which are helping Greencore to outperform includes its exposure to faster-growing areas of the market such as ready meals and it has also been gaining share in all of its key categories."

She added: "Our current revenue growth forecast (ex-Uniq) is for around 4%, so the company is clearly running some way ahead of that. However, given we have a further nine months to go, and the markets are likely to remain challenging, we opt not to change any numbers today."

Shares in Greencore were up 4.06% at 70.5p at 12:13 GMT in London this afternoon.