It was a bumper Christmas for two Midlands-based bakeries, which enjoyed record sales.

Mike Holling, retail operations manager, Birds of Derby, told British Baker last week that there was a queue of 45 customers waiting outside the bakery shop at 5.30am on Christmas Eve, with a peak of 60 people by 7am. "It was an indication of their concern to make their purchases at the last minute in order to get fresh produce," he said.

Sales highlights included more than 30,000 Birds pork pies, which were snapped up in the last three days before Christmas, and 37,600 mince pies sold on Christmas Eve itself. Impulse novelty items, such as gingerbread Santa and snowmen, together with Santa lollies, also proved a roaring success.

Christmas proved "outstan-ding" at the Buxton Spa bakery in Derbyshire, which supplies Co-op’s Fairtrade mince pies, with both volume and value up 100%, said marketing manager Helen Riley. "In 2006, our mince pie business was 98,000 cases, while in 2007 we moved 183,000 cases through the doors," she said.

The firm also registered its first-ever turnover of £1 million in a month in November, and plans to boost production facilities and increase capacity.