Cranswick sees significant sales boost on back of COVID-19 retail demand

Cranswick has enjoyed a huge boost in sales during the lockdown period, resulting in a 25% hike in revenue in the first quarter of the current financial year.

The Hull-based pork and poultry processor, which was already in a strong financial position, helped by Far East pork sales, attributed the Q1 sales boost to the dramatic shift towards in-home consumption from March, which ensured ‘exceptionally robust’ retail demand over the quarter.

This, together with increased poultry sales from the new Eye facility, which the company said continues to perform strongly, have comfortably offset lower food service revenue.

As a result, revenue in the 13 weeks to June 27 2020 was 24.8% ahead of the same period last year, while excluding the contribution from recent acquisitions, revenue on a like-for-like basis was 19.2% higher.

This positive performance has, to date, continued during the second quarter of the financial year, the company said in its first quarter trading update.

However, it predicted that following the exceptional demand experienced in the first quarter, retail volumes are expected to begin to normalise through the remainder of the year as consumers gradually return to eating out of home.

While Cranswick’s board remains cautious about the longer-term economic impact of COVID-19, the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations and the conclusion of trade deals, the outlook for the current financial year is now expected to be ahead of its previous expectations.

Adam Couch

Adam Couch

Cranswick CEO Adam Couch said: “Our teams across the business have responded brilliantly during these extraordinary and unparalleled times and I would like to thank them for their incredible support and hard work which has enabled us to continue to deliver premium food products with outstanding service to our customers,” he said.

“We have made a strong start to the year. Whilst we remain cautious about the longer-term economic impact of COVID-19 and the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations we are well positioned to address these challenges.

“Our positive momentum reflects the continued investment we make across our asset base and the quality and capability of our colleagues across the business.”

The company said that it continues to invest across its asset base to increase capacity, add new capabilities and drive further operating efficiencies. Capital expenditure in the current financial year is expected to be lower than the record £101 million spent in the prior year, following the completion of the £78 million Eye poultry primary processing facility.

Crasnswick also reiterated that colleague safety and wellbeing remain its priority, highlighting its ‘proactive and comprehensive’ COVID-19 action plan. Enhanced safety measures swiftly introduced in March have enabled all sites to remain fully operational and to meet increased levels of retail demand, it said.

The company also paid a £500 bonus to site-based colleagues to recognise their essential key worker status and valued contribution throughout the pandemic.

It added that its robust financial position has enabled it to continue operating without recourse to any Government assistance.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.