COSTS associated with integrating newly acquired businesses into its Bradford factory slowed profits growth and narrowed margins at food manufacturer Symington's.

The Leeds-based group behind brand names such as Chicken Tonight and Ragu has reported record sales of nearly £150 million in the year to March 31, but high promotional levels and costs from the prolonged integration of its Victoria and Goldenfry acquisitions put margins under pressure .

In accounts lodged at Companies House , Symington's , whose Bradford operations include the Aunt Bessie's food range at Low Moor and the Millerdale croutons factory on the Euroway estate,

described the period to February 2014 as 'very challenging', with discounters increasing market share as consumers became more price focused

Pressure on margins and the integration costs for Victoria and Goldenfry into Bradford , contributed to the fall in pre-tax profit from £10.1 million to £4.9 million .

Symington's said Investment in its manufacturing base, product innovation and new brand development helped increase sales by five per cent to a record £148 million .

The company expects to see continued difficult trading conditions in the UK retail market for the foreseeable future but expects to be able to grow sales and profit.