UK bakery Warburtons today (23 September) revealed plans to close its bakery at Newport, South Wales and has begun consultation with its 114 employees and their representatives.

A spokesperson for the company told just-food that the decision has been taken for “operational reasons and has been reached after much consideration”.

The company began a 90 day consultation period with staff yesterday (22 September) and said a number of options will be discussed, “including, if necessary opportunities for employment at other Warburtons sites, voluntary redundancy and early retirement”.

Warburtons commercial director Jason Uttley said: “We are committed to working closely with our employees and their representatives to discuss the proposal and to explore all possible options during the consultation period. As for our strong customer base in Wales, we remain committed to providing the same high standards of quality of product and service.”

Independent Welsh bakery Brace’s has expressed interest in acquiring the site. The company said it has initiated talks with the Baker’s Union and Welsh Assembly Government to discuss what options are available to it in terms of buying the site.

Brace’s spokesperson Scott Richardson said: “It is terrible news that the Warburtons bakery site may have to close, especially when there are so many local jobs involved. However, we have been interested in opening a site within Newport for a number of years and see this development as an opportunity to step in and keep the bakery up and running – saving jobs in the process.”

“Developing a bakery in Newport would be key to future expansion and allowing us to continue to improve our offering. We have previously expressed an interest in this very site which we already know has tremendous potential for us,” he added.