Leicester-based Geary’s Bakeries blamed rising fuel costs, as it made 18 redundancies last week, and restructured to boost profitability.

Joint MD Tony Marriott said rising fuel costs had a major impact on Geary’s supply costs to certain sectors of its market. It was no longer cost-effective to maintain small deliveries to customers such as schools, he said. It has withdrawn from around 150 customers, which amounts to 700 deliveries a week.

Product range has also been rationalised, “to ensure every Geary’s product is made just in time to guarantee freshness and best quality”, said Mr Marriott.

Geary’s had originally feared 26 posts would be made redundant, but has just won a new order with a major national

sandwich retailer, which redu-ced the impact, he added. Some of the 18 workers affected took the voluntary option but others suffered compulsory redundancy.

The 26 workers potentially affected had been given notice of a 30-day consultation a month ago.

Mr Marriott told British Baker the 100-year-old company plans to focus on its core and more profitable customers following the restructure. “We celebrate our centenary in the new year and we are confident that the restructure will not only safeguard the future of the business, but also provide us with a platform for strategic growth, with products that have won over 4,000 national awards available on a national basis.”