Warburtons saw a respectable rise in profits last year despite an "unprecedented" hike in commodity prices.

Pre-tax profits reached £62.8m for the 52 weeks ending 26 September 2009, up from £57.5m in 2008, on sales of £510m, up from £498m. The company said it had seen a "solid operating performance in a difficult economic environment" and that the results were satisfactory.

The bread giant added that it had continued to focus on product quality and service, while recognising the need for an increased level of consumer support for customers.

MD Robert Higginson said: "As Britain’s second-largest grocery brand, we remain focused on an uncompromising commitment to providing consumers with locally baked, great-tasting quality products every day. Our business is well placed to support growth going forwards."

He added that the business intended to grow its share of the bakery market and had further developed its national footprint, particularly through the opening of its Bristol bakery.

Although 45 employees have taken voluntary redundancy or early retirement, following the first phase of its £25m Bolton bakery redevelopment, Warburtons said staff numbers had risen from 4,809 to 4,921 last year.

Two lines at its Bolton Hereford Street bakery are to be replaced by a new facility, to be commissioned from September 2011 and it has insisted that no compulsory redundancies will be made.