Countrywide Farmers’ profits hit by mild winter

Operating profit fell by 55% to £1.907m at Countrywide Farmers in the year to 31 May.

The mild winter of 2013-14 and a falling commodity market significantly impacted financial performance, said the group, whose turnover fell 2.5% to £298.2m

The warmer winter in comparison with 2012-13 meant that liquid petroleum gas sales volumes fell 20% and compound feed sales were down by 15%.

See also: First export shipment for Countrywide Grain

Trading conditions in general remained challenging and the results were disappointing, particularly in the light of last year, said chairman Nigel Hall.

“We are confident that 2015 will see an improvement as we believe progress can be made across all areas of the business. A more normal winter will also have a positive impact upon profit,” said Mr Hall.

Countrywide Farmers’ agriculture and energy business turnover fell to £201.8m compared with £214.4m in 2013.

Turnover and profit rose in both alternative feeds and the arable business, while like-for-like retail sales grew by 0.5% but margins fell slightly due to an initiative to clear stock.

Countrywide operates the largest loyalty card system in the rural sector, with more than 23,000 new customers joining this year and total membership now more than 145,000.

The group employs more than 1,000 people and runs 53 country stores.

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