CAMPBELLS Prime Meat has lamented the “malaise on the high street” as it reported a big fall in profits in its most recent financial year.

The firm, which supplies meat and fish to restaurants around Scotland, made a pre-tax profit of £454,995 in the year ended December 31, down from £1.6 million the year before, new accounts show.

Directors said the challenges brought by lower footfall on the high street have spread to the restaurant sector.

The West Lothian firm said, however, it is on a “very strong financial footing” with a diversified range of both food and customers. Its largest single customer accounts for just a small percentage of its revenues.

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It said: “The profits in 2018 were lower than in 2017 for several reasons. The malaise on the high street, with lower footfall, has to an extent affected the restaurant sector also and many of our customers are restaurants.”

The company said while it is fully accredited, input from regulators and customers has been a factor in the business in its last financial year, and it has doubled staff in one department.

It said: “The meat industry has seen an increasing burden of regulation from the Food Standards Scotland and Food Standards Authority.

“Campbells Prime Meat Ltd, with our British Retail Consortium accreditation, has very high food safety standards.

“We increased our technical and food safety department from three to six in 2018 to ensure those standards are maintained."

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It added: “Customers also are demanding increasing technical standards, but are unwilling to pay for this.

“The wage expense of the business continues to increase.”

Campbells said in its statement to Companies House: “The company remains on a very strong financial footing: it has no bank debt and a very strong balance sheet; the food production range is diversified; and the range of customers is diversified. The largest customer represents no more than 5% of turnover.”

It said: “Our product is split between meat and fish, with fish now representing 25% of total sales, means we are in a strong position to have the right products to changing eating habits.

“Our factory near Linlithgow is undoubtedly the finest in Scotland for the supply of fresh meat fresh fish and delicatessen to foodservice customers. This has allowed us to maintain excellent quality and service to our customers, while at the same time operating more efficiently.”