Tasty Baking Co., the US bakery firm, posted a first-quarter net loss yesterday (4 May), despite a 7.8% increase in sales.

The company reported a net loss of US$70,000 for the quarter compared to a net loss of $1m in the first quarter of 2008.

Net loss for both the first quarter of 2009 and 2008 included after tax accelerated depreciation of $0.8m.

Adjusted EBITDA for the period increased 70.9% to $3.6m from $2.1m in the same period of the previous year.

Paul Ridder, Tasty Baking’s senior vice president and CFO, said: While we saw declines in selected commodity prices during the first quarter of 2009, when taken as a whole, we experienced a moderate increase in packaging and ingredient costs, which offset some of the benefit associated with higher selling prices.”

Net sales, however, increased to $46.2m from the $42.8m reported for the first quarter last year. The increase was driven by “balanced growth” in both the route and non-route components of the business, in addition to the impact of the timing of the Easter holiday.

“We are pleased with our top-line performance this quarter and the positive impact from higher selling prices and changes in our promotional strategy, which not only helped fuel our sales growth, but also translated into a significant improvement in gross profit,” Ridder added.