The company was concerned about its ability to recruit enough staff post-Brexit

Annual profits slumped by a quarter at UK private label pizza manufacturer Stateside Foods as it battled a “challenging retail environment”.

The supplier, which manufactures pizzas on behalf of retailers and private brands, saw pre-tax profit slide 25% to £5.2m for the year ended 28 Feb 2018.

Despite a 7.1% surge in sales to £230.5m, Stateside saw a substantial decline in gross margin, to 9.9% in 2018 from 11.7% in the previous year.

“We operated in a challenging environment, selling into the retail trade,” the company said in the recently published set of accounts.

“This year’s business performance has been in line with expectations. We will continue to drive costs out of our business in the coming year.”

In the accounts it added that, with Brexit approaching, it had a “growing concern” about its ability to recruit enough staff to allow it continue to grow. It had introduced strategies to mitigate this, it added.

The Bolton-based manufacturer is part of the Freiburger Group, the largest pizza supplier in Europe, which itself a subsidiary of German giant Südzucker.

The company, which was founded more than 25 years ago, has a 463,000 sq ft site in Westhoughton, which includes two factories.