The chief executive of Finsbury Food Group, the UK cake maker, today (30 September) insisted the company had made progress during the last 12 months despite a fall in sales.

The company, which makes cakes under licence for Nestle, Thorntons and Weight Watchers, posted a 5.9% drop in reported revenue to GBP163.8m (US$260.2m) for the year to 3 July.

However, Finsbury, the UK’s second-largest cake maker, said its adjusted pre-tax profits were up 7% at GBP5.4m. Its gross margin improved by 0.8% to 28%.

Finsbury makes a range of gluten-free goods but the group’s sales were affected by discounting in its core cake market. However, chief executive John Duffy said the company had reacted to the change in trading conditions.

Duffy said: “These results underline our progress to date. We have responded to a difficult trading climate by adapting our range of products, developing strategies to meet the modified purchasing habits of our customers while stepping up the pace of internal change.”

Looking ahead, he added: “Without the benefit of a crystal ball, it would be unwise to anticipate any dramatic change in the economic climate. Nonetheless, our position in the marketplace remains both distinctive and healthy while our commitment to product quality and innovation is second to none.

“Our vision is clear. Success for this business depends on trading through the present period, paying off a proportion of our debt, remaining within financial covenants, building a financial position that is less leveraged and returning to growth in an expanding marketplace.”