UKs biggest supply co-op now in black

5 October 2001

UKs biggest supply co-op now in black

COUNTRYWIDE farmers, the countrys largest farm supply co-op, has moved back into the black this season after a loss-making first year in business.

Formed from the merger of Midland Shires Farmers and West Midland Farmers, the group has announced a pre-tax profit of £804,000 for the year ended May 31, compared with last years deficit of £3.6m.

"We had to write off a number of assets but I think improvements in our economies of scale and distribution network are starting to take effect," says chairman, John Bush.

"Growth will come on the back of retail sales, we need to attract farmers to our stores, this in turn attracts rural aspirants who have money to spend." The co-op operates 35 outlets and there are plans to add two or three more in the coming year.

The 12,000 farmer shareholders will not receive a dividend until profits have strengthened further, but Mr Bush says he is confident this will happen in the next few years. &#42

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