STEPHENS Bakery have announced that all of its shops and direct vans will close today.

In the last few minutes, managing director, André Sarafilovic, released a statement that said they have made the "difficult decision" to stop trading at their outlets' respective closing times.

However, they have added that they will continue to supply its convenience store partners with its products.

He said: "We have made the difficult decision to close all Stephens Shops and Direct Vans. They will stop trading at their respective closing times today (Monday 23rd March).

"We have done this to protect our shop staff, their families and our local community, to allow easier and stricter implementation of social distancing. The health of our staff and their families will always be our number one priority.

"We are working with local foodbanks to redistribute unsold products to those most in need.

"Thank you to our amazing Shop and Direct staff who have kept things running so well during this difficult time. We are continuing to supply our convenience store partners, so you can still get your Stephens goodies from there.

"We’d like to use this platform to encourage everyone to please follow Government guidelines, we’re all in this together.

"We wish all our customers the best and thank you for continuing to be loyal over the last few weeks.

"We can’t wait to reopen our doors to you, when it is safe to do so."

Their announcement follows that of nationwide companies such as McDonald's, Costa Coffee and Nando's, who have all confirmed that they will close for the forseeable future.