Robert Wiseman has asked its customers for a price increase to cover increased costs, a move that could push up retail prices. Rising utility costs in recent months had added to oil cost pressure and weakening bulk cream prices to put increased pressure on the business, said group finance director Billy Keane.

“This month we have notified our customers of an across-the-board increase in selling prices to recoup these higher costs and to allow a further rise in milk price to our raw milk suppliers,” said Keane. “We are confident this increase will be achieved and a significant improvement in the second-half performance is anticipated."

Results for the six months to 27 September were in line with expectations, he added. Wiseman also announced this week it had agreed to spend £4.5m on a nine-acre site in Wiltshire to build a new distribution depot to cope with predicted increased volumes.