Warburtons has pulled the plug on its first overseas venture - selling bread into Tesco stores in four Central European countries.
The bakery giant started selling several Warburtons-branded lines, including a white Toastie loaf, brown bread and crumpets, in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland last year.
However, transport costs had proved too high, it said, and the contract had been further complicated by the need to change its recipes in order to extend the shelf life of its products.
Exporting to the region was not sustainable, said Warburtons. “High distribution costs and the lack of a suitable local manufacturing partner meant the long-term viability of this export model in these markets was limited,” said a spokeswoman.
Having to contend with increasingly weak economic conditions in the region and so many different languages had also been major barriers, the company added.
This week, Tesco reported a slowdown in its sales in the region, with Poland’s third quarter like-for-likes down 6.6% and the Czech Republic’s down 9.2%.
The ending of the export trial has spawned a new Facebook page: “Bring back Warburtons bread to the Czech Republic”. One ex-pat joked “the market is wide open for Kingsmill all 93 of us might buy it!!!”
This summer, Warburtons bread went on sale in 270 branches of French supermarket Monoprix. The baker said it would continue to develop its French export business.