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Three of Shropshire's Countywide Farmers stores remain unsold

By James Pugh | Bridgnorth | Business | Published:

Three of Shropshire's four Countrywide Farmers stores remain unsold, it has been revealed.

Countrywide Farmers' Market Drayton store

The stores are in Ludlow, Market Drayton and Whitchurch.

It comes as the joint administrators of Countrywide Farmers have confirmed that they have sold 14 of the farming and equestrian retailer's former stores, safeguarding a total of 169 jobs.

The 14 stores, which are in locations around the UK, have been sold to various farming and agricultural store operators.

They include the Bridgnorth store which was sold to Llansantffraid-based agricultural and retail group Wynnstay on April 30.

The Market Drayton branch closed on May 6, with the stores in Ludlow and Whitchurch closing on Sunday.

Administrators said currently 208 staff have been made redundant, including at the stores that have closed.

A total of 169 Countrywide Farmers employees have transferred to the respective owners of the stores in which they work.

David Pike, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, said: "Following our appointment as joint administrators for Countrywide Farmers, we are pleased that we have been able to safeguard the future of 14 stores, and moreover the jobs of 169 staff. We are hopeful that we'll be able to achieve four further sales from the remaining trading leasehold stores.

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"Regrettably however, as with the majority of administrations, redundancies are unavoidable and a total of 208 people have been made redundant at the company's headquarters in Evesham, the Defford logistics centre and stores that have closed. With no prospect of going concern sales for 11 of the 15 remaining stores, these will be closing with a final trading date of May 20.

"All affected staff have been informed and will be paid up to and including their last day of employment.

"We are pleased that we have been able to trade the stores for this duration to allow the successful sales to take place. We'd like to thank every employee for the support and professionalism they have provided to the company, both before and during the administration."

Rural retailer Mole Valley Farmers had been in discussions prior to the collapse of Countrywide Farmers to buy up the entire of its store portfolio but the Competition and Markets Authority stepped in to assess whether that would drive up prices for customers.

After an initial inquiry, a secondary investigation was triggered which was not due to conclude until August, and Countrywide directors took the decision to go into administration after being faced with cashflow pressure.

James Pugh

By James Pugh
@JamesP_Star

Shropshire Star Business and Farming Editor.

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