UK convenience food group Uniq said it expects full-year results for its continuing operations to be in line with expectations, boosted by the restructuring of its desserts business.

In a trading update today (15 October) for the third quarter, the company said overall sales decline had slowed, with sales for the period to 25 September down 0.7%, an improvement on the 1.7% decline in the first half.

As a result, the third-quarter performance reversed the loss in the first half to become profitable year to date, Uniq said, as the benefits of its desserts restructuring began to have a positive impact. 

Last week Uniq closed the EUR71.3m (US$105.2m) sale of its French prepared meals business Marie to poultry group LDC to focus on its UK operations.

The deal comprises of EUR60m for 100% of Marie's equity and EUR11.3m in debt repayment.

Sales in Food-to-Go moved back into 4.7% growth as the extra sandwich business recently won with M&S came into production. Desserts sales however, fell 5.8% compared with last year in quarter three as a result of the increasingly competitive nature of the market, being driven by higher levels of promotional activity. 

In response, Uniq said it is planning "significant investment" in its desserts business in a bid to improve its competitive position, funded out of the proceeds from the continent.

"We have made significant progress in implementing our modified strategic plan. The board expects to have largely completed the transformation to a UK-focused business by the end of the year and to deliver a full year result in line with its expectations for the continuing businesses," Uniq said in its update.

A spokesperson for Uniq told just-food that the company was "on-track" to transforming into a UK focused business by the end of the year, as planned. However, the group declined to comment on the progress of its business review of operations in Northern Europe.

The company also declined to give specific details on the amount of investment it would make in its dessert business, stating that it was "dependent upon numerous factors" concerning the transformation of its UK business.