July 20, 2017 / 6:29 AM / a year ago

Premier Foods Q1 sales down 3.1 pct

July 20 (Reuters) - Premier Foods Plc, owner of Mr Kipling cakes, Bisto gravy and other British brands, reported a drop in first-quarter sales on Thursday, due to lower sales volumes in the grocery category, an outcome it called in-line with its expectations.

The company, which is under mounting pressure to deliver growth after spurning a takeover offer last year from U.S. rival McCormick & Co, said sales in its first quarter fell 3.1 percent as a good performance by its Sweet Treats division was offset by slow sales for its branded grocery products, notably desserts.

However, Premier said it maintained its expectations for the full year saying it expected to report positive sales growth in the second quarter and broadly flat sales in the first half.

Earlier this week McCormick agreed to buy Reckitt Benckiser Group’s food business for $4.2 billion. (Reporting by Rahul B in Bengaluru; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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