Label of love for McBride

Shoppers ditching big name brands for cheaper supermarket own-label products helped boost profits at one of the UK’s biggest household goods suppliers.

McBride, which supplies own-label toothpaste, mouthwashes and detergents to all the major supermarket chains, reported a 39 per cent rise in underlying UK profits to £16.5m in the year to June 30, while revenues rose slightly.

Its results were boosted by “a year of progress” in its supply chain restructuring programme that saw it close a household liquids manufacturing site in Burnley employing more than 300 staff.

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Despite tough competition amid high levels of special offers from branded products, the group, which has sites in Hull and Bradford, benefited as consumers switched to own-label products to help them manage their budgets.

It said industry volumes across its core household products sector were down four per cent in the year, but private label sales were stable, meaning they increased their share to 29 per cent of the market, up from 28 per cent a year ago.

However, in the personal care category, private label lost share to branded promotions.

Group underlying profits rose two per cent to £29.5m, but its shares closed down nearly 10 per cent to 119.5p after it shocked the City by reducing its dividend payment by more than a quarter as it looks to put cash aside for future growth.

The group said input costs had been broadly stable over the year, but warned that the higher price of oil meant there could be a short-term impact on profits in the first half-year, although these can be recovered later in the year.

The group said efforts to cut costs and grow margins had seen profits more than double in the second half.