Countrywide headquarters© Clint Randall

The first jobs have been lost at crippled rural retailer Countrywide Farmers, which went into administration on 7 March.

From a total of more than 700, 32 employees have been made redundant across two sites, with 20 going from the company’s Evesham headquarters and 12 from a distribution centre at Defford.

David Pike, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: “Our strategy remains to continue to trade to realise stock, while we develop and convert interest in parts of the business and packages of stores.”

See also: Countrywide Farmers calls in administrators

“To maximise the available trading period, we have taken steps to reduce costs and regrettably we are unable to retain the workforce in full.”

He added that all staff had been paid in full up to the final day of their employment.

Farmers Weekly also understands that at least one landlord of a site on which a Countrywide store operates has come under pressure from Hilco Capital, a store management company operating on behalf of KPMG, to reduce rents.

A KPMG spokesperson said: “Hilco Capital were appointed to provide expert assistance in running the stores and getting the maximum trading benefit for creditors. They also provide access to augmented stock channels while we seek a buyer for all or part of the business.”

Hilco Capital is described on its website as having “significant capabilities in the stressed and distressed manufacturing, wholesale and distribution sectors”.