The scale of the challenge facing Brakes CEO Stefan Barden was underlined this week as its 2010 results revealed losses had increased by 37% to £93.7m.

Global sales were up 15.5% to £2.21bn, largely due to acquisitions. But pre-tax losses in 2010 were £25.5m worse than in 2009, accounts filed at Compa-nies House by parent company Cucina Lux revealed.

UK sales growth slowed to 2.8% at £1.8bn an increase of £48.3m on the year before. Just £18.5m of the growth was organic, with the remaining £29.8m down to the acquisition of Freshfayre and Browns.

The company said organic growth came from cross-selling to its corporate ­accounts and admitted cutting its margins in order to win and retain contracts.

The accounts also revealed that severe snow in December cost it more than £5m in lost sales.

Group chief executive Philip Jansen tried to put a brave face on the situation, claiming Brakes had ­recorded a "solid year" against the backdrop of a weak economic outlook.

Former Northern Foods boss Barden joined Brakes as UK CEO in January.