UK baker Warburtons is to spend GBP45m (US$88.7m) on a new bakery in south-west England as the company looks to build on growing sales outside its northern heartland.

The bakery will be located just outside the city of Bristol and is expected to be up and running by December.

Bolton-based Warburtons has enjoyed rising sales over the last 12 months and is building its presence in the south of England. In the year to July 2007, Warburtons saw its sales in the Home Counties almost double to 9.1% of the local bakery market.

Earlier this year, Warburtons announced plans to set up a depot in south Wales, which followed the opening of a bakery in the country two years ago.

Chairman Jonathan Warburton said: “The Bristol bakery will allow us to make a wider range of products for distribution to Wales and the South West.”

The site is set to employ 450 people and produce 1.5m products a week.