Newcastle-based North East Bakery has bought 15 Milligans high street bakery shops for an undisclosed sum.

Milligans, which was ranked number 42 in British Baker’s recent top 50 bakery retailers’ list, had 22 shops in the Newcastle area.

North East Bakery, which was started three years ago as a wholesale and sandwich supplier, had six shops under the ’Nichols’ brand. It now plans to convert the stores to its Nichols fascia over the next 12 to 18 months.

The £4 million turnover company will relocate to Milligans’ 20,000sq ft bakery in Newburn, following the asset purchase. The North East Bakery company has also taken on 100 Milligans staff, increasing staff numbers to 150.

Milligans has retained four outlets, to be run as coffee shops.

Greg Phillips, MD of North East Bakery commented: "This is a very exciting time for North East Bakery as it marks the start of a major growth period for the company."