Northern Foods, the UK food group, today (9 November) posted half-year losses of over GBP9m (US$14.5m) as its frozen food business suffered from competition in the pizza category.

The company, which owns the Goodfella’s pizza brand, booked a first-half loss of GBP9.5m for the 26 weeks to 2 October, against a profit of GBP12.9m a year earlier.

Revenue was down 3% at GBP453m. However, first-half like-for-like sales grew 2.7% after a 6% rise in the second quarter.

Northen’s profit from operations reached GBP17.5m, down from GBP20.5m a year ago. The company’s chilled and bakery businesses posted rising sales and profits but its frozen arm fell to a loss of GBP4.6m. Last year, frozen delivered a profit of GBP12.9m. Frozen sales were down 24.4% at GBP94.7m.

The group said the frozen category remained “very challenging” and admitted its recent investment in Goodfella’s had not led to “profitable sales growth”.

Chief executive Stefan Barden said: “Whilst trading conditions remain tough, we are taking decisive actions to ensure Northern Foods remains well placed for these competitive and uncertain market conditions. Our finances remain strong and we continue to trade in line with market expectations.”

Shares in Northern were down 1.1% at 45.5p at 10:56 GMT this morning.

Click here for the full statement from Northern Foods.