The European chilled convenience food group blamed a slow- down in its markets and the later timing of Easter for operating losses that were slightly lower than expected. But it has recently won more business with M&S, which prompted it to make further investments in its Northampton food-to-go facility.
UK sales were flat year-on-year with growth in desserts and salads offset by a slight decline in food-to-go. A company statement said: "This performance is slightly ahead of expectations, as we had planned for a continuation of the slowdown seen in 2008."
Work to transfer business from its closing Paignton site to Minsterley should be complete by September 2009, it added.