PD HOOK GROUP has grown sales and profits in its most recent financial results, which cover the year to 31 October 2018.

Revenues were £564m with profits of £15.3m, according to the latest financials, compared with £541m and £14.3m the year before.

Director James Hook said in the group strategic report the firm had performed well, with chicken and turkey demand remaining strong.

But a tough economic climate, uncertainty over Brexit and a shrinking labour pool had all presented challenges.

The sales growth was attributed to both sales volume and price growth, as well as “positive sales of turkey poultrs in our first full year of trading since the acquisition of Bernard Matthews in 2017”.

Operating profit fell to £20.0m (2017 £21.9m) “primarily as a result of having to absorb rising costs within the business”.

“The recruitment and retention of staff has proved ever-more difficult as the pool of available labour reduces, and a number of migrant workers chose to return to their native homes,” he said.

Lower labour availability was being mitigated by automation and consolidation within the business, the report says. Average employee numbers fell from 958 to 942, when compared with the previous period.

The report concluded: “Our objective is to be a major provider of day-old quality chicks in the UK across all production types balancing the need for lowcost production while maintaining the high standard expected by retailers and consumers of British chicken.”