Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a 5% decline in the number of bakery retail businesses in the UK last year, while the number of bakery manufacturers fell by 0.8%.

The figures show there were 2,880 bakery retail businesses in the UK in 2006, operating a total of 6,405 units. In addition, there were a total of 1,740 bakery manufacturers, down 15 year on year.

The figures, gathered on March 17, 2006 and published in September, give details of turnover and location of companies classified as bakeries.

They show a 5% decline in the number of bakery retail companies by 145 year on year. The number of outlets operated also dropped, 5% or 305 from 6,710 in 2005.

Consolidation among small bakery businesses is one possible explanation for the decline.

There were 2,260 retail bakers with up to four employees in 2006, down from 2,475 in 2005.

The statistics also reveal the regional spread, age and the turnover brackets of the companies registered. Many bakery retail companies are based in the north, according to the data. Some 390 were listed in the north-west and 265 in Yorkshire and the Humber. There were 245 registered retail bakery businesses in Scotland, 145 in Wales and 355 in London.

The coded data, available from the ONS’s Inter-Departmental Business Register, also covers the bakery manufacturing industry. It shows there were 1,550 manufacturers of bread, fresh pastry and cakes in the UK in 2006 (included in the 1,740 tally above) - up 10 on 2005.

Of these, 110 had a turnover of under £50,000 and 90 of over £5m in 2006. Greatest year-on-year decline in numbers was seen in companies with turnovers of between £100,000 and £5m, the figures reveal. For example, there were 455 companies with turnover of between £100,000 and £249,000 in 2006 down from 475 in 2005.

The ONS also listed 190 manufacturers of rusks and biscuits, preserved pastry goods and cakes in 2006 (a separate category) down from 215 in 2005.

A separate classification is used for takeaway businesses, including sandwich shops. There were 61,935 takeaway outlets in 2006.