Premier Foods plc’s share price was up this morning (23 April) as the UK food group booked an increase in first-quarter sales.

For the three months to the end of March, sales excluding milling were up 1% to GBP327m. Branded sales climbed 2.2% to GBP275m. The group reported a 3.3% rise in sales of its “power brands”, which include Hovis bread and Sharwood’s sauces, to GBP222m.

Sales in Premier‘s bread business, excluding milling, were 0.8% ahead of last year. It said Hovis’s market share was “broadly unchanged”. Premier said the brand will benefit from a packaging re-design in the second quarter.

“Despite a continued challenging consumer environment, I believe we have the right strategies in place to make further progress this year, with expectations unchanged,” said CEO Gavin Darby, who joined the business in January.

Premier Foods said it remains on track to deliver the previously announced GBP20m of cost savings in 2013.

Premier’s share price was up 3.22% to 73.80 pence at 08:04 BST.

Click here for coverage of Premier’s conference call with analysts, including where CEO Gavin Darby sees potential for cost savings.

Click here for a round-up of how City analysts viewed the results.

And read why union officials are unhappy with Premier’s plans to close a Hovis bakery in Birmingham.