UK-based convenience foods group Uniq has reported a loss for the year to 31 March and said it expects “extremely challenging” times ahead.

After goodwill amortisation, exceptional items and tax, the group reported a loss of £5.9m (US$10.6m), compared to a profit of £25.1m last year. Operating profit was down to £35.3m from £36.0m a year earlier, while operating profit from continuing businesses rose to £39.5m from £27.0m in the previous year.

Uniq reported turnover of £949.1m compared to £987.6m in the previous year. Turnover from continuing business rose 7% to £891.8m.

Uniq said one of its highlights was a strong performance in France, where profits almost doubled, but said UK market conditions were increasingly difficult.

“This has been a year of significant progress in a very tough retail environment. We have strengthened our teams in the UK and Northern Europe; we have finalised our supply chain improvement plans; we have exited the difficult UK poultry market and most recently we have strengthened our position in UK desserts. While I am confident of our long-term performance, the start of the new financial year will be extremely challenging,” said CEO Bill Ronald.