One in four jobs at Warburtons’ Bolton bakery face the axe following the announcement of a £25m upgrade to its bread plants.

The UK’s biggest bread business said last night it had started a 90-day consultation period with 121 of its 480-strong workforce.

It is closing two bread plants and updating them with a more modern, hi-tech facility to meet the future requirements from its retailer customers. The upgraded site will be commissioned from September next year.

“This investment will allow Warburtons to continue to grow and develop,” said a spokesman for the business, which was founded in Bolton 140 years ago. “As a result of these proposals, 121 positions in the bakery are at risk of redundancy.”

He added: “Warburtons will be working closely with its impacted employees and their representatives to explore all possible alternatives, during the consultation period.”

Warburtons, which saw sales lift just 0.9% to £581.6m last year, opened a £45m bakery in Bristol last July to expand its presence across Hovis-dominated southwest England.

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