In a trading statement, Northern Foods said that sales in the first two months of the fourth-quarter had been “very disappointing”.
It added that its bakery division had been seriously affected by a downturn in the biscuit market and that biscuit sales in January and February were 12% lower than the previous year.
Sales of its pastry products in January and February were also 11% lower, while volume and margin at its chilled division had experienced a decline.
However, it added that its frozen division had continued to perform well.
As a result, Northern Foods said that it expected pre-tax profit for the current financial year to be approximately £45m compared with £62.2m the year before.
Earlier this year Northern Foods warned that its full-year pre-tax profit would be lower than expected.