Dairy Crest has said it expects to deliver a “steady” first-half performance, although the UK dairy group conceded sales of its spreads brands came under pressure during the period.

In a trading update for the six months ended 30 September, Dairy Crest said branded sales are expected to be flat year-on-year as the group lapped a tough comparison. Strength in cheese will be offset by lower sales in the spreads business, the group revealed.

Dairy Crest added the underlying performance of its spreads business continued to progress towards the medium-term target of 3% return on sales.

The company reiterated its full-year outlook. Shore Capital analysts expect FY current pre-tax profit of GBP58m (US$80.2m) and EPS of 31.8p, down from GBP70m and 37.9p a share last year.