Premier Foods, producer of Mr Kipling cakes, has announced plans to close its Knighton manufacturing facility, based in Staffordshire – a move which is said to potentially impact 300 of its employees.
In response to the news, Staffordshire County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills Philip White said that it was “devastating”, and a “real blow”.
“This is devastating news for all concerned and with so many jobs at risk a real blow to local communities. The county council will work with partners including the borough council and DWP to ensure those affected have the support they need at this difficult time,” he said, adding, “The partnership will contact the company to discuss next steps and set out the free support services available to those employees affected. These include our recently launched Staffordshire Jobs and Careers brokerage service.”
According to Premier Foods, the site in Knighton has become unprofitable and will be closed by the middle of 2023. The site is responsible for making its powdered drinks and the company has said it is currently in negotiations with the staff working there.
“It is recognised that this will be an unsettling time for those c.300 colleagues who are potentially affected by these proposals, and they will be fully supported and consulted with throughout the process,” the company said.
The news comes after a trading update released by the company, which celebrated strong sales including a 17.4% of its grocery sales, which it has said is its fastest growing business.
In the trading update, Alex Whitehouse, CEO of Premier Foods, said: “We delivered a strong trading performance in our important third quarter, with sales growth of 12% compared to the same period last year. These results illustrate the continuing appeal of our portfolio of market-leading brands in such a challenging environment and demonstrate the strength and resilience of our branded growth model.”
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