Warburtons continues to cut European operations, exits France

Warburtons continues to cut European operations, exits France

UK baker Warburtons has continued to reel in its fledgling international businesses with the confirmation that it will exit the French market.

The company, which sold Le Toastie long-life bread in France, has said it will cease activities in France following the end of its trial run with UK retailer Tesco in central Europe.

In November last year, the company took the decision to pull out of central Europe in the face of high distribution costs and the failure to find a suitable partner to manufacture products locally. "This meant it was not cost effective to continue to produce and distribute the extended shelf life range solely for France," a spokesperson for the group told just-food today (28 August).

However, the spokesperson emphasised that the group will continue to sell a range of frozen products to select expat markets. "As part of the export trial we developed a frozen range of products which we continue to export to expat markets such as Spain."

The company insisted that its move to scale back its international ambitions was not a signal that it is easing off the pedal in its drive to grow the business.

At the beginning of this year, the company said it will ramp up marketing spending to "future proof" the Warburtons brand. The group is also diversifying its business and said it aims to double the size of its free-from business during 2013, becoming the largest brand in the sector through its Newburn Bakehouse brand. 

"As ever we are fully focused on the growth of our business, through innovation of our existing brand but also through diversification such as with our Newburn Bakehouse and Escapes brands. In addition, the recent acquisition of Giles Foods increases our capabilities for the future and fully demonstrates our ambition for growth," the spokesperson insisted.