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October 6, 2010    

Northern Foods to reduce headcount

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by Kay Murchie

Northern Foods, which supplies ready meals to Marks & Spencer and Aldi, has revealed it will trim its workforce by 500 in a bid to cut costs.

The job losses, which are set to be at management-level, are the result of reducing the business from five divisions to two.

However, the announcement comes despite strong sales growth in the second quarter. The group said like-for-like sales grew 7% in the last three months - compared with a 1.6% fall in the previous quarter.

The company issued caution and said it expects consumer spending to be hit as a result of the Coalition Government’s massive spending cuts.

It said it was bracing itself for a double-dip recession. Stefan Barden, chief executive of Northern Foods, hinted that this could not be ruled out.

Competition among suppliers remains fierce, added Barden.

Leeds-based Northern Foods has a workforce of almost 10,000 and its brands include Goodfella’s and San Marco Pizzas, as well as Fox’s Biscuits.

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