The new Tuscany Park bakery replaces a landlocked site in the town centre, and will serve customers in Bolton-based Warburtons' Yorkshire stronghold. It has one high-volume bread plant, capable of producing 8,400 800g loaves an hour and a roll plant, capable of producing 60,000 baps an hour.
Speaking at the launch director Brett Warburton told British Baker Tuscany Park is a key strategic development in national expansion plans. The site will allow Warburtons to meet increasing demand for its bread in its heartland, he said.
The building has an empty section, where a second bread plant will be installed by 2008. Warburtons also has planning permission for a second bread plant at its Enfield bread bakery, which already produces 8,000 loaves an hour. Expansion there will soon be underway, Mr Warburton said. He commented: "It's important we put down capacity. We are now approaching a situation where we are serving 80% of the UK and we have another 20% to go at."
Warburtons is also preparing to launch two bakeries in Stockton and Newport, acquired from New Rathbones last year. The Stockton site adds capacity in the north. The Newport bakery, which will be in action by July or August, will allow expansion into Wales, currently supplied from Birmingham and Runcorn. It will also let Warburtons "stretch its tentacles" into the south-west, an area it does not cover.
Brett Warburton commented: "This is not the end of the road, we will need additional capacity. We are addressing this issue at the moment." Investec analyst David Lang predicted the baker will need a site south of the Thames.
Warburtons' regional market share, July 2005:
Lancashire and Borders - 54.4%
Yorkshire - 44.5%
Scotland - 33.8%
North-east - 33.1%
Central - 32.1%
Wales and West - 11.3%
East - 9.3%
London - 7.4%
South-east - 3.3%
South-west - n/a
Source: AC Nielson/Tns World Panel/figures collated by Warburtons in its bakery review 2005.