Northern Foods, the maker of Fox‘s biscuits and Goodfella’s pizza, said a “strong” chilled execution and a “good performance” from its bakery business had boosted sales over Christmas.

The UK food group said its like-for-like sales were up 2.3% during the 13 weeks to 1 January thanks to a 9.7% increase in chilled sales and a 5% increase in bakery sales.

The company admitted, however, that its frozen sales were “weak”, dropping 17.2%, as it “rebuilds” the Goodfella’s brand.

Acting chief executive Simon Herrick said: “Overall, Northern Foods has continued to trade in line with market expectations, despite tough market and weather conditions. The commitment, resolve and initiative of our employees, even when faced with extreme weather conditions, helped us to deliver a good Christmas trading performance, whilst implementing major organisational change and the Greencore merger discussions.

“We remain well positioned for the uncertain and competitive market conditions which we expect during 2011, underpinned by our strong financial position and the benefits being realised from our new organisation structure.”

In October, Northern announced it was slimming down its business from five divisions to two.

The company’s share price remained flat this morning at GBP62.00 a share at 10:09 GMT.