Warburtons said the decision to close the site followed a “rigorous” 90-day consultation process

Warburtons said the decision to close the site followed a “rigorous” 90-day consultation process

UK baker Warburtons has announced the closure of its plant in Blackpool amid increasing competition in the sector.

Warburtons said today (4 January) the decision to close the site followed a "rigorous" 90-day consultation process. The firm said the closure was required in order for the company to "maximise" its manufacturing capacity and produce its products more efficiently.

The 73 employees that will be affected by the facility closure were informed of the outcome of the consultation on Wednesday. Around 18 will be relocated within the business, with 55 facing compulsory redundancy.

"Closing a bakery is the hardest decision our family business has to make," said chairman and CEO Jonathan Warburton. "The last year has been particularly challenging due to a number of changeable factors including further pressure on household budgets and an increasingly competitive market. The changes to our manufacturing operations ensure we can continue to meet the demands of our customers and consumers and will ensure a stable future for the business and our 4,500 employees."

The company said it remains "committed to growth" and that in order to stay competitive it will continue to invest in new technology and launch products that "meet the change in consumer needs, tastes and lifestyles".

Warburtons, which announced the potential closure of the site in September, was in talks with unions in November over proposed changes to its sales team. Talks are understood to be ongoing after the company said it would look to make 16 van driver assistant positions at its Bolton site redundant.

Last month, the firm pulled its bread lines from sale in Tesco stores in central Europe amid high distribution costs and being unable to find a partner to produce its products locally.