Work on brands boosted margins, Walkers Shortbread said

Work on brands boosted margins, Walkers Shortbread said

Walkers Shortbread has booked higher annual profits thanks to improved sales and efforts to boost its branded sales.

The UK baker posted net profit of just under GBP11m (US$17.8m) for 2012, up over two-thirds on a year earlier. Operating profit jumped 69.4% to GBP14.3m.

Turnover was up 3.8% at GBP123.7m, while Walkers Shortbread saw its cost of sales fall in 2012 compared to 2011.

The company said exports accounted for 41% of sales in 2012, the same level as in 2011.

Walkers Shortbread said its operating margin climbed from 7.2% to 11.8% after work on its branded business.

"Of particular relevance to our long-term profitability is the ongoing development of the Walkers brand in home and export markets, which has been significant in helping to raise our ... margin," the company said in its filing with Companies House. "This contrasts with the work we do in the highly competitive private-label sector, where the margins achieved are substantially lower."

In July, just-food interviewed Steve Dawson, the head of Walkers Shortbread's business in the US, its largest export market. Click here to read its plans for the US.