The number of bakery retail businesses is on the up, having increased almost 5% in the past year, according the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The UK Business: Activity, Size, Location 2012 report contains data on VAT registered businesses in the UK, and was produced from a snapshot of the Inter Departmental Business Register, taken on 12 March 2012.

The number of retail bakery businesses, selling bread, cakes, flour confectionery and sugar confectionery in specialised stores stood at 3,280 in March this year, up 150 (4.57%), and were operating 7,385 units. The number of bakery manufacturers was also up with 2,065 manufacturers of bread, fresh pastry goods and cakes, an additional 160 manufacturers compared to March 2011 or an increase of 7.74%. There were also 210 manufacturers of rusks and biscuits, preserved pastry goods and cakes, registered for VAT, marking no change from 2011.

As in 2011, the highest number of bakery businesses were in London, with 485, followed by 410 in the north west and 375 in the south east. The north west still had the highest number of outlets with 1,055, followed by London on 905, and Scotland with 875. These figures reflect the findings by business insurance provider Simply Business earlier this summer. As part of a survey of 30,000 independent shops, it found that local bakeries had seen a revival up 17%.

Mike Holling, chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers (NAMB), said: "It’s extremely good news. The NAMB has had lots of enquiries recently from people who are just starting up businesses, so it’s good to see things coming to fruition."

He put the increase down to a bigger media profile on baking, which he believes has prompted people to give it a go. "It’s marvellous to see a resurgence in craft and artisan bakers on the high street. We have had some big casualties this year, such as Peter’s, so it’s great to see green shoots coming through, and to have new blood in the industry."

The data is based on firms that turn over more than £77,000, requiring them to register for VAT.