Countrywide has returned to profit after reporting an operating loss of £1.2m in 2011.

The agricultural supplier’s half-year results, to 30 November 2012, reveal a profit of £0.5m on the back of a 12% increase in group sales to £138.8m from £123.4m.

Growth was reported in retail and higher agri-feed sales, predominantly from new dairy feed customers.

In 2012 the group reduced its annual operating costs as part of a strategic review, and changes included relocation of its Wardle store and acquisition of a stake in genetics company Sterling Sires Ltd.

Chairman Nigel Hall said he expected the company’s end of year results to be well ahead of last year.

“We have taken significant steps in the growth of our agricultural business and set a positive platform for the future,” he said.

“We recognise the considerable long-term growth opportunities in the arable sector and the Hackett’s business in Leicestershire adds weight to our arable portfolio.”

The group recognised that the next 12 months were likely to be challenging across all sectors, he said.

“We will continue to work hard in bringing competitive advantage to our customers through quality, choice and price, while ensuring service and sound advice remain at the heart of what we do.”

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