Marks & Spencer sandwich supplier Uniq reported falling sales in the first three months of the year, down 4.9% on the same period in 2008.

The European chilled convenience food group blamed a slowdown in its markets and the later timing of Easter for operating losses, which were slightly lower than it had expected.

However, it has recently won more business with M&S, which prompted it to make further investments in its food-to-go facility at Northampton.

UK sales were flat year-on-year with growth in desserts and salads being offset by a slight decline in food-to-go. A company statement reported: “This performance is slightly ahead of our expectations, as we had planned for a continuation of the slowdown experienced in the second half of 2008.”

It added that work to complete the closure of Paignton and transfer business into Minsterley was on track and would be complete by September 2009.