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Family bakery adds 47 jobs as it doubles cake business with multi-million M&S deal

By John Mulgrew

A Co Londonderry family bakery has created almost 50 new jobs on the back of a big supermarket deal as it grows turnover to more than £16m.

Genesis Crafty, based in Magherafelt, has secured a "multi-million pound uplift to its existing contract with Marks and Spencer", which has doubled the company's cake business.

Its teatime range, which includes 11 new product lines, will be sold at 800 Marks and Spencer stores across the UK.

It comes as the latest accounts for the firm, which operates under McErlain's Bakery, showed turnover rising slightly to £16.2m in the year to October 2016.

However, it saw a small fall in pre-tax profits, dropping from £558,000 to £484,000.

The latest accounts show a small reduction in headcount, with the average number of employees falling from 226 to 217 in 2016.

But the impact of the new business has already seen a significant £6m investment, which includes new equipment and site development over the last 12 months.

A total of 47 new jobs are being created, including 10 management positions, with recruitment now under way.

JP Lyttle, commercial director, Genesis Crafty, said: "We have worked with M&S since 2010 when we launched jam bakes and lemon bakes in their Northern Ireland stores.

"Local success of the products led to national distribution and, since then, we have produced a number of seasonal lines for them.

"The development of this new premium teatime range began in early 2016 and involved significant research across the UK and beyond to find inspiration to create the best pastry, sponge, buttercream and jams.

"Taste trends such as salted caramel, combined with new approaches to traditional tarts and cakes, have been incorporated in the range, as well as an acknowledgement of customers' interest in portion control with the smaller treat sizing on offer."

And Georgina Wells of M&S said: "Our partnership with Genesis Crafty has been characterised by both quality and innovation.

"The company's commitment to extensive research combined with its unique artisanal approach to production, delivers products which our customers love and we are proud to sell.

"We have already had some really positive feedback from customers on these latest additions to our small cake offer and are looking forward to the next two launches in December and early 2018."

Brian McErlain, managing director, Genesis Crafty, said the latest deal would help "contribute to major growth in our production capability, facilities and expertise".

"There is great synergy between our two companies as we come into our 50th year in business and M&S celebrates 50 years of operating in Northern Ireland.

"We are looking forward to further developing our partnership and to that end will be launching additional M&S ranges for Christmas, with further cake lines planned in the spring.

"In support of this growth we are now actively recruiting 47 staff at all levels, which is a welcome boost both to Genesis Crafty and to the local economy."

Belfast Telegraph

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