Hundreds of jobs lost as Countrywide Farmers shuts stores

There have been more than 200 further job losses from Countrywide Farmers as administrators acted to shut stores they say have no prospect of sale as a going concern.

The total redundancies now stands at 240, after 208 staff from the former agricultural retailer were added to the 32 let go in March.

The fresh losses came from the company’s Evesham headquarters, the Defford logistics centre and 11 stores which will stop trading on 20 May.

See also: Wynnstay acquires 8 Countrywide stores

But 169 employees kept their jobs after it was confirmed 14 other stores will stay open under new ownership.

David Pike, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said he was hopeful a further four stores may still be sold as going concerns.

Eight stores were confirmed as being sold to Wynnstay on 30 April, and Mole Valley Farmers chief executive Andrew Jackson told Farmers Weekly this week his company has bought four.

Mole Valley initially made an offer for all 48 stores but the deal was blocked by the Competition and Markets Authority in February over concerns prices would rise in the South West because of insufficient competition.

Mr Pike said all affected staff have been informed and will be paid to and including their last day of employment.

Records submitted to Companies House show the accountancy firm will be charging a total of £2.1m for their work in winding the company up at an average hourly rate of £356/hour.

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