Northern Foods said its remaining bakery business returned to growth of 1% in the third quarter, in a trading update this week.

Its Christmas pudding business had a good seasonal period, it said. But year-to-date revenue was 4.9% lower in its remaining bakery companies than the previous year, for the third quarter of 2006/07 (13 weeks ended 30 December 2006).

Northern Foods completed the disposal of its chilled pastry, cakes, speciality bread and flour milling businesses on 13 January 2007, raising a total of over £200m after fees and expenses. It had already sold its distribution business last year.

The company’s continuing businesses include sandwiches in the chilled division and biscuits and puddings in what remains of its bakery division.

Including discontinued businesses, underlying revenue for the group fell by 3% in the third quarter and 1.3% year to date. Underlying revenue in the discontinued businesses, which were sold to independent investment firm Vision Capital, fell by 14.2% in the third quarter and 9% year to date.