Dairy Crest sees rise in sales of key brands

Clover and Cathedral City firm Dairy Crest yesterday revealed sales growth of its five top-selling brands had more than doubled on the back of higher prices.

The dairy giant reported an 11 per cent rise in sales of its key brands – Cathedral City, Country Life, St Hubert Omega 3, Clover and Frijj – in the three months to December 31, compared with the rate of 5 per cent seen in the half-year to September.

It said 8 per cent of the growth came from inflation and 3 per cent from increased sales volumes as it faced rocketing costs of milk, vegetable oil and other oil-related products.

The group has been upping its selling prices where it can to recover some of the increases, but is also slashing costs across the group to help – targeting more than 20m of savings this year.

It has started using the internet to tender for suppliers as part of this cost-cutting drive, covering supplies such as batteries for its milk delivery floats and diesel fuel.

Dairy Crest said its hauliers, dairy farmers and doorstep delivery team battled through the pre-Christmas snow chaos with no material impact on the group.

It said further progress has been made on signing up new customers to its milk&more milk delivery internet proposition after launching a television advertising campaign last month. Milk&more is now within sight of the 1m weekly sales milestone, up from 800,000 in September, it added.

Dairy Crest chief executive Mark Allen said input prices were likely to be at their peak but could remain at current levels for some time.