Strong trading keeps stores open while administrators negotiate deals

Countrywide Farmers, the agricultural retailer which went into administration six weeks ago threatening 735 jobs, is continuing to perform well while administrators seek to sell the business.

The company collapsed earlier in March after the Competition and Markets Authority decided to refer the sale of its 48 stores to Mole Valley.

Although 32 redundancies were made three weeks later, administrators have described trading as “strong”.

It added: “The majority of stores will continue to trade into May which has created an opportunity to seek further going concern sales where available.”

Administrators David Pike, Mark Orton and Will Wright, from KPMG, have received offers for 20 stores. They have named 11 others, including Evesham and Ludlow, where they are inviting offers.

They are also seeking offers on the remaining freehold sites, on a ‘property only’ basis.

Countrywide Farmers has been restructuring for the last year. It had agreed the sale of its retail stores to Mole Valley in October, but the deal was held up by competition concerns.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a detailed investigation into the proposed deal, believing that it could push up prices or lower quality in 45 areas, and within days Countrywide had appointed administrators.