UK baked goods group Lees Foods has posted a loss from continuing operations for 2008 of GBP1.54m (US$2.47m), down from profit GBP0.54m in 2007.
 
Underlying earnings per share fell from 22.86 pence to 11.43 pence, while Lees posted a pre-tax loss as GBP1.42m, compared with a pre-tax profit of GBP0.72m in 2007.
 
Revenues for the year reached GBP18.29m, up from GBP15.14m in 2007.
 
The company said the fall in profits was primarily a result of a bad debt provision of GBP69,000, which was owed to the company by Woolworths, and a significant increase in raw materials, power and distribution costs.
 
However, the company said that during 2008 it had continued to invest in new product development, expanding its range of cake trays, tubs and mini tubs for biscuits and meringues. It also said that the number of production lines at its Coatbridge factory had been increased from six to nine to satisfy increased demand. Export sales continued to be developed with the company securing new orders for the first time in Belgium and South Africa.
 
In addition, Lees said that the first six months of 2009 had "started well" and based on early indications it expected sales and profits for the period to 30 June to be ahead of the same period last year.