AULDS, the baker and frozen dessert maker, has increased sales but seen losses double amid fierce competition and pressure on costs.

Accounts for Greenock-based Aulds Holdings filed at Companies House show it achieved £15.4 million turnover in the year to 1 April up from £15.2m in the preceding year.

Pre-tax losses widened to £430,000 from £175,000.

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The accounts note the challenges faced by Aulds, which was founded in 1900 and has outlets across the Central Belt.

The business has been achieving growth in the market to supply desserts to caterers and the like after shrinking its retail operations during a period of change on the country’s shopping streets.

Writing in the accounts, managing director and chief executive Alan Marr noted: “The group continues to consolidate its retail operations and expand in the Foodservice Desserts market.”

Business wins will see turnover continue to increase at the Aulds Delicious Desserts manufacturing operation based in Inchninnan, which has achieved success in the UK and overseas.

Its products range from chocolate cheesecakes to strawberry tarts and include gluten free options.

Mr Marr added: “Pressure will remain on margins from increased material costs during 2017 and wage inflation.”

In January last year Mr Marr noted there had been a dramatic increase in the cost of ingredients in the preceding three months, particularly dairy.

He said then he expected prices to rise as a result of the fall in the value of the pound following the Brexit vote. This has pushed up the cost of imports and put pressure on wages.

Mr Marr added in the accounts: “The retail and food services markets are highly competitive. The group competes with a wide variety of retailers and food services companies of varying sizes and faces increased competition from UK companies as well as international ones.”

Founded by Mr Marr’s great grandfather, Aulds has spent years dealing with market changes which have included trade shifting from high streets to shopping centres and superstores.

The company’s website lists 26 stores in locations stretching from Ayr to Livingston. Aulds had 43 outlets at the start of the decade.

Employee numbers averaged 437 in the latest year, and 445 in the preceding period. Labour costs rose to £6.9m from £6.5m.