Bakery chain Greggs is to cut up to 55 jobs in Cumbria as it opens a new factory in September.

The 2,400sq m purpose-built bakery in Penrith will specialise in confectionery products, replacing two older bakery sites in the centre of the town.

The company, which last month reported profits of £52.5m for 2010, said the county’s geography meant there was limited scope for additional shops.

It added that the new £4.5m bakery was an opportunity to retain the skills of its Cumbrian bakers, who would be producing about one million cakes, sweet pastries and biscuits each week.

However, the number of bakery employees required at the new site was expected to fall by about 50-55 posts and while this new investment would safeguard many jobs, some positions would become redundant – subject to consultation.

Chief executive Ken McMeikan said: “We are saddened that there will be an overall reduction in jobs but by choosing Penrith, we have safeguarded a long-term future for Greggs bakery production in the region. 

“We are doing everything possible to create jobs for as many of the existing staff as we can at the new confectionery bakery.”