Aryzta has announced negative growth in bakery for the six months ended 31 January 2010, with its UK and Irish markets seeing the highest revenue decline.

Its food business, which is primarily focused on speciality bakery, saw underlying growth fall 10.1% in its European arm, with revenue down 7.7% to €533.6m. Operating profit for Food Europe stood at €60.7m, down 5.1%.

Its bakery business has a wide customer base including convenience retail, restaurants, gas stations, catering and hotels. Chief executive officer Owen Killian said credit availability remained difficult for many customers “who need to maintain and develop their consumer-facing investment”, which led to customers reducing costs and postponing investment decisions.

According to a statement from Aryzta, consumers continued to switch channels during the period, with foodservice more impacted than retail. However, some growth came from new customers in Continental Europe. Meanwhile, underlying growth in Food North America dropped 2.7% although Aryzta’s Developing Markets division saw growth of 3.4%.

The firm formed in August 2008 through the merger of Irish company IAWS and Swiss bakery firm Hiestand. It is a mix of business-to-business and consumer brands, including Hiestand, Cuisine de France and Delice de France.