European convenience food group Uniq has warned that its outlook for the year is expected to be “substantially below expectation”.

In a trading update to the City, the group also warned that because of a disappointing second quarter in the UK and northern Europe, operating profit for the first-half would be close to breakeven.

Uniq said that that the UK was where its position was most challenging, but where there was also the greatest opportunities to recover and where action was being implemented to improve future performance.

It reported that although sales in the first five months were down by just 0.3%, the division overall occurred losses of £6.5m.

In southern Europe, Uniq said that sales in the convenience division had been flat and the overall chilled market growth was slower that expected.

In northern Europe, sales were down 5% because of poor summer weather and competitive activity.

Geoff Eaton, chief executive of Uniq, said: “Clearly we face a challenging trading environment, a significant programme of change and it will take time to deliver. However, the agenda for change is dynamic and exciting as we focus on optimising the value in each business we operate.”