Ainsleys of Leeds has been forced to call in the administrators after attempts to find a buyer for the struggling business failed.

The 29-shop family bakery firm employs 263 full and part-time staff, and approximately 30 temporary agency workers, across its shops, the bakery in Sheepscar, Leeds, and its van sales operation.

Joint administrator Joe McLean, a partner at Grant Thornton in Leeds, told British Baker that the business had been trading in difficult circumstances for some time, with declining retail sales and increased competition in the marketplace.

He said that despite the efforts of the directors to change its offering and restructure to adapt to changing market conditions, the company found itself unable to continue.

“It had been looking for interested parties over the last months, to try and find a buyer. Ultimately the prospective purchasers with whom they were engaged were unable to proceed, so they were left with no option but to call in the administrators (on Friday 6 November).”

In a statement released by Grant Thornton, McLean added: “The administrators intend to continue trading the business and will be making contact with those same parties and others in an effort to find a purchaser for all or part of the operation.”

General manager James Ainsley said that, along with the Ainsley family and company directors, he wished to acknowledge the support, hard work and loyalty of the staff over the years, “particularly through the recent challenging times”.

Established in 1938, Ainsleys produces a range of breads, cakes, sandwiches and savouries.