Arla has decided to pull Anchor Cheddar from the shelves after 36 years, citing poorer-than-expected sales.

Anchor, which was launched in 1972, is currently the fifth-biggest UK Cheddar brand with sales of £8m. It would be taken out of stores by the beginning of 2009, Arla confirmed, as the company looked to focus its attention on newer brands such as Apetina and Castello. "We didn't see it as a great long-term return on our investment," said business unit director Danny Micklethwaite.

In a Cheddar market that was 85% own label, Arla had decided to channel marketing support into other sub-categories, he added.

One cheese producer said that at fifth place Anchor would have found it increasingly difficult to secure shelf space. Retailers were focusing their attention more on their own labels and the top few Cheddar brands, the producer added.