Bakery’s profits hit by difficult trading

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

Profits dipped for Frank Roberts & Sons last year
Profits dipped for Frank Roberts & Sons last year
A difficult trading environment in the wrapped bread market has contributed to a fall in profits for Frank Roberts & Sons.

The Cheshire bakery reported turnover of £90.3m in the 53 weeks to 1 September 2018, compared with £90.4m for the 52-week period ending 26 August the year before.

Pre-tax profits fell from £3.1m to £303,000, while group operating profit before restructuring costs was £1.7m, £2m lower than the previous year.

An increasingly competitive landscape combined with inflationary cost pressures were also cited as reasons behind the decline in operating margins.

Revenue growth

Writing in its strategic report, the group stated it had implemented a number of initiatives to “kick start revenue growth”​ and reverse the decline.

This included a relaunch of the Roberts brand and a focus on innovation and customer service, which had resulted in a “step change in sales revenue”​ which was delivered during the latter half of the year and post year end.

Improvement in operating margins at the tail end of the year was delivered through a number of cost reduction initiatives; this included a reduction in headcount which gave rise to one off restructuring costs of £0.8m​,” it said. “A cost inflation recovery exercise was commenced post year end with customers as a response to increasing wheat, fuel and energy costs.”

Alternative routes to market

The business said it was well placed to handle the difficult trading environment through its long term approach together with its strategy of maintaining a versatile product range and alternative routes to market.

“The group will continue to build on the recent brand relaunches of Roberts and Little Treats and challenge the sector through the delivery of high-quality innovative products and first class customer service​,” it said.

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