Leeds-based bakery chain Ainsleys’ delivery service has grown from a single van a year ago to a fleet of 10 this month and has recorded turnover of £1.5 million, according to sales and marketing director James Ainsley.

He told British Baker that the Ainsley Delivers vans had been “very successful” and profitable because they involved low overheads and offered flexibility while the high street is having “a tough time”.

He said the company had been forced to close its store in Selby because of a dramatic reduction in footfall in the North Yorkshire market town following the closure of coal mines.

“When we opened in Selby seven years ago it was a very vibrant town with good footfall but with the pits gone the footfall has been reduced,” he added.

The company faced competition in the town from Greggs, Cooplands, Thomas the Baker and subway as well as “a host of cafes”. Running the Selby store in Gowthorpe had also entailed high distribution and management costs.

Ainsley said that while the company had no immediate plans for further retail outlets it remained “constantly on the look out for other units”. He said Ainsleys, which already supplies some of the major multiples, would also continue to explore further wholesale opportunities.