Premier Foods is to close its Hovis distribution centre in Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire, due to a reduction in volumes of supermarket own-brand bread.

The company has entered into consultation with staff and their representatives at the site, which employs around 60 people. A spokesman for Premier told British Baker that the proposed closure was due to a drop in sales of own-label bread.

"As well as making the Hovis brand, we also manufacture a range of retailer-branded bread and other bakery products. During 2010, we continued to grow sales of Hovis. But we saw a decline in these other areas. The impact of this has been a reduction in volume, which has prompted a review of our distribution arrangements."

Value sales of own-label products in Hovis’ bakery division fell 22.1% (year ended 31 December 2010). Branded sales rose 1.7%.

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