The number of UK bakery manufacturers and retail bakery businesses fell only slightly in the year to 22 March 2010, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures, taken from a snapshot of the Inter Departmental Business Register, give details of the turnover, location and age of all UK companies by their VAT classifications.

The total number of manufacturers of bread, fresh pastry and cakes fell by 1.56% to 1,885, from 1,915 in March 2009, while the total number of retail bakery businesses fell by only 10 (0.3%) to 3,130, and operated a total of 6,815 units. This contrasts with 2008-2009, where manufacturers grew by 5% and retailers fell by 7%.

London contained the highest number of bakery retail businesses, selling bread, cakes, flour confectionery and sugar confectionery, with 420 firms, followed by the north west with 395.

The north west contained the highest number of bread, fresh pastry and cakes manufacturers with 250, followed by London with 245. Scotland contained 165, Wales 125, and Northern Ireland 110. The ONS also listed 220 manufacturers of rusks, biscuits, preserved pastry goods and cakes.

The north west also housed the highest number of bakery retail outlets with 860 units, compared with 775 in London and 340 in the north east. Scotland had 800 outlets, Wales 320, and Northern Ireland 260.

The highest proportion of both bakery retail businesses and fresh bakery manufacturers had a turnover of £100-£249k, while only 25 retail businesses and 95 manufacturers achieved a turnover of £5m plus.

The majority of bakery retail businesses (1,560) had been around for 10 years or more, with 415 less than two years old, while 1,555 manufacturers were 10 years old or more. The data is based on firms that turn over more than £67,000, which must register for VAT.