High street bakers have reported a largely positive festive perfor-mance, with a full trading week between Christmas and New Year and the mild weather aiding sales.
Pie and sandwich retailer Bradley’s Bakery, in Ashton-Under-Lyne said it doubled its orders on Christmas Eve. Co-owner Mark Bradley said: "We’ve had a phenomenal Christmas our busiest ever. We sold 700 pork pies on Christmas Eve and, in the three days leading up to Christmas, we took just short of £10,000 at our one shop." Bradley put the increased sales down to the bakery’s work on promoting itself over the past 12 months. "We’ve invested a lot of time in promotional work, and networking with other local businesses for example. We’ve also done a few tasting nights, which have been very successful."
Chris Pocklington, owner of Pocklingtons Bakery in Lincoln-shire said: "Total sales for the three months to Christmas were up by 15% on last year. However, margins were squeezed due to raw material price increases, which could not be wholly passed on to customers."
Mike Holling, retail sales director, Birds of Derby, and chairman of the National Association of Master Bakers, said the retail chain experienced very satisfactory trading, with its busiest day on Christmas Eve. "Customers left it until the last minute to buy as fresh as possible," he said. "Sales of our novelty lines rose from just short of £7,000 in 2010 to almost £14,000 this year."
Meanwhile, Angie Townsend, owner of The Tiny Cake Company, said her Christmas cake pops "went down a storm" online and in the retail outlets it supplies. "Stockists also increased orders for our hand-decorated mini Christmas cakes," she added.
Bakery also performed well in the major multiples. Waitrose saw 53% more Christmas puddings sold than last year. Its total mince pie sales were up by more than a third, with 2.4 million sold by Christmas Eve. Sainsbury’s also had a record-breaking Christmas, with its Taste the Difference range up by 10% over the quarter. Morrisons achieved record customers numbers at Christmas and The Co-operative also saw mince pie sales rise up 12%.