Tea Time Express is to close its cake business with the loss of 30 jobs. The bakery, its wholesale business and shop in Dublin, are to cease trading on 21 December.
Donal Hogan, managing director, said that he was devastated, but as the figures did not add up the closure was logical.
Sales have been down, while the cost of ingredients has been increasing over the last three years, and especially during the last 12 months.
“That is the reality of Ireland in this moment in time, and the bakery industry in general. It is a tough place to do business right now,” Hogan told British Baker.
He said that it was possible that the bakery could reopen in the future. “The situation is that this is an orderly wind down, and maybe someone might see some future in it in the New Year,” he said.
The company, which once operated four shops in the capital, distributed to more than 1,000 shops around Ireland, including Londis.
Tea Time Express is the latest casualty in the bakery industry in Ireland. Several other bakeries have closed down or have been in severe financial difficulties in the last year, including Spicers bakery in Navan which closed last month.
Ger Cunningham, secretary of the Flour, Confectionary and Bakers Association, attributed the difficulties to the recession but also the increase in the price of flour and other costs, and no corresponding rise in the price for bakery products.
“Retailers are not giving price increases, and bakers have had to absorb the costs and they just have not been able to survive doing that. They have become ‘busy fools’ supplying retailers at a loss,” he said.