UK dairy company Arla Foods UK has said its CEO is to retire at the end of the financial year, and it plans to close a distribution centre in East London.

The company also said trading so far this financial year, which began in October, has been in line with its expectations, with sales of the Lurpak brand in particular, remaining strong.

Arla Foods UK, formed in October 2003 through the merger of Arla Foods Plc and Express Dairies, said the business performed “exceptionally well” during the Christmas period.

However, it also said it plans to close its Stratford (East London) regional distribution centre in April.

The company’s planned closure of its Ruislip (West London) dairy is set to take place this coming weekend, while its Scottish expansion plans are progressing and it will begin to supply Asda’s Scottish stores at the end of this month.

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“Over recent months our business has continued to experience significant non-milk inflationary pressures (the equivalent of just over 1p/litre) and we have begun price negotiations to recover this from the market,” the company added.
Arla Foods UK also announced that its chief executive, Neil Davidson, plans to retire from the company and the board at the end of the current financial year on 30 September 2005. The company said it would immediately put in place a process to appoint a successor.