Newsroom Archive

Archive of press releases from Countrywide during 2009:

15th Dec 2009Kayak donation to help the Severn’s life saving rescue service
2nd Dec 2009Enter the Spirit of Christmas at the Launch of Gloucester’s new Countrywide Store
1st Dec 2009Fun Charity Auction in support of Riding for the Disabled Association
16th Nov 2009Honiton all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people
16th Nov 2009Evesham all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people
16th Nov 2009Stockton all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people
16th Nov 2009Chipping Norton all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people
16th Nov 2009Countrywide event puts farmers at the heart of the Ledbury store
9th Nov 2009Bearley all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people
9th Nov 2009Cirencester Countrywide event put farmers at the heart of the store
9th Nov 2009Melksham Countrywide event put farmers at the heart of the store
4th Nov 2009Countrywide expertise package supports livestock farmers
3rd Nov 2009TV country expert launches new Country Store
28th Sep 2009Result of 2009 EGM and EGM Proxy Votes Received and Result of  2009 AGM
28th Aug 2009Countrywide Delivers Record Profits for the Second Consecutive Year
24th Aug 2009 Change in Auction Date
30th Jul 2009New Jobs for Honiton
15th Jul 2009Countrywide Charity aims for a world record
10th Jul 2009Countrywide acquires Carmarthen & Pumsaint Monmouth business
28th May 2009Countrywide Farmers plc (the "Company") 2008 Long Term Incentive Plan (“LTIP”) for key executives
10th May 2009Countrywide Names First Marketing Director
30th Apr 2009New Finance Business makes its Mark
20th Apr 2009Welland Valley Feeds is on the move!
19th Mar 2009Countrywide Host Key Event for Dairy Farmers
5th Mar 2009Countrywide Bridgwater Supports Riding for the Disabled
5th Mar 2009Countrywide unveils brand new look for Bromsgrove store
2nd Mar 2009New Countrywide Organisation Development
27th Feb 2009Countrywide Announce Record Half Year Results
23rd Feb 2009Countrywide Nuneaton Supports Riding for the Disabled
6th Feb 2009Countrywide Strengthens Commitment to Animal Health
6th Feb 2009Renewables
3rd Feb 2009Countrywide acquires Dene’s Country Store
2nd Feb 2009Vital Fuel Supplies Beat the Big Whiteout
16th Jan 2009Horse Lover Helen Wins Dream Shopping Spree
9th Jan 2009Big Freeze Fuels Demand
2nd Jan 2009 Melksham Mill To Save Jobs

 


Kayak donation to help the Severn’s life saving rescue service

The charity, Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), is delighted to receive the donation of two kayaks, from Countrywide Farmers plc, to help with their life saving rescue service on the River Severn.

The kayaks will go into service at the stations of Tewkesbury and Wyre Forest on the upper regions of the Severn.

SARA is the number one inshore rescue boat and land search organisation for the Severn estuary and the upper reaches of the river. Just like the RNLI, the charity is entirely staffed by volunteers who risk their lives to save others in difficulty on the Severn.

To assist SARA with their excellent and challenging work, Worcestershire based Countrywide has donated two Fatyak kayaks to use on the river. As well as going into active service on the front line on the Severn, the kayaks will be used to help train volunteers in vital rescue and survival skills.

“The River Severn runs right through the heart of our area and as a major business in the area we are delighted to be able to support this very worthwhile charity,” said Shaun Cooper, sales development manager at Countrywide.

“Many of our customers have been effected by flooding along the river in recent years and so it’s great to be able to help SARA as you never know when you’re going to need their help.

“Our kayak donation builds further on our existing connections to SARA and we are delighted to be able to help in such a practical way.”

The SARA stations of Tewkesbury and Wyre Forest are called out by the Police, Fire Rescue and Ambulance Service to respond to emergency situations in the Severn river area, including the Rivers Severn, Avon and Stour. SARA has two further stations in Beachley and Sharpness, from where they are called out by HM Coastguard to assist with emergency rescues in the Severn Estuary.

The need for SARA’s work has increased with more callouts each year, typically to assist boats or people in difficulty in one of the rivers across the Severn basin. SARA’s work involves searching for missing persons, animal rescue and flood relief assistance.

Shaun Cooper added, “We got to know the people at SARA as they are one of our fuel card customers. Countrywide’s fuel cards are a great way for them to guarantee their vehicles are always fuelled and ready to go at a moment’s notice anywhere along the Severn, saving valuable time in an emergency situation.”

Mark Lucas from SARA said, “Just like the RNLI lifeboat rescue service the SARA team can be called upon at anytime – day or night - to take part in rescue operations.”

“The Severn Estuary has the second largest tidal range in the world and the services of SARA are a lifeline to those who underestimate the power of the river and the dangers involved.

“The kayaks will be used as support boats in search and rescue operations on the upper reaches of the river – instead of having to risk our lives swimming across the river to find an anchor point, we will now be able to use the kayak to get from one bank to the other. Every minute counts in a river rescue scenario so this could make the difference to someone’s life.

“Many thanks to Countrywide for their continuing support. At the end of the day, key equipment like this is critical in supporting our rescue service to help save lives.”

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Enter the Spirit of Christmas at the Launch of Gloucester’s new Countrywide Store

Christmas is coming just a little bit early to Gloucester as Countrywide re-launch their Westgate Street store next weekend, 12th & 13th December, with a life size Father Christmas and live reindeer.

The store will be celebrating Christmas with fun for all the family and 10% off all goods in store*. The life sized singing mechanical Father Christmas will be accompanied all weekend by children’s favourite, Tractor Ted.

But the real treat will take place on Sunday 13th December when two magnificent real life Reindeer will visit the store between 10am and 4pm. To make the reindeer feel right at home, there will also be a snow machine to make snow and huge amounts of fun for everyone.

This Christmassy event marks the completion of a £100,000 refit for the Countrywide store. The store supplies everything for a country lifestyle and country living.

Equestrian World is a new addition – the store within a store experience - exclusively meeting the needs of horse owners and riders.

Store manager, Helen Day explains, “We can’t wait to re-open the fantastic new look store with such a fun, family event to get everyone in the festive spirit.

“Children will be thrilled to see real Reindeer. Come along and let your children make a Christmas wish and they can even sit on their backs as they are very tame and have professional handlers.

“This is the ideal time to prepare for Christmas and select a Christmas tree from our wide range of sizes and varieties, together with many other Christmas products.

“There is something for everyone - farmers, small-holders, equestrians, pet-owners, country sports people, gardeners, rural business and the general public. We even have the largest range of Wellies in Gloucester!

“If you’ve not visited our store yet, this is the weekend to come and join our spectacular Christmas launch event.”

* exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers.

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Fun Charity Auction in support of Riding for the Disabled Association

On Wednesday 9th December, Countrywide are holding their first ever equine-themed Charity Auction in aid of Riding for the Disabled (RDA).

The auction, in conjunction with auctioneers Pugh’s of Ledbury, will start at 6pm at Ledbury Rugby Club, Ross Road, Ledbury, HR8 2LP. Viewing is from 4 pm on the day.

The event is an ideal opportunity for equestrians of all ages and abilities to find a new home for all those unwanted items they no longer use, or which the children have out grown. The auction is a great way to turn them into cash and raise money for a very worthwhile charity. Sellers will be asked to donate from 50% to 100% of the sale price to the RDA.

In addition, Countrywide and its suppliers have generously donated lots of new items, including water troughs, rugs, clothing and tack; a tonne of feed; grass seed, show jumping tickets and riding lessons.

Anyone who wants to place items in the auction can take them along to their local Countrywide store now, or to drop them off at Ledbury Rugby Club before 4pm on the day of the auction.

Alistair Folly, agriculture director from Countrywide said: “Come along with your unwanted equestrian items or gifts and help us raise as much as we can for the RDA charity to help more disabled people benefit from riding. It’s going to be a fun evening for all the family with a bar and refreshments on hand throughout the evening.”

“With over 100 different lots, there is something of interest for equestrians of all ages, so come along and bid for that great bargain and support a worthwhile cause.”

Countrywide has chosen to support the RDA as its charity of the year. We are holding a series of events to raise money and awareness of the RDA, which is dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities through the provision of horse riding and carriage driving.

Ed Bracher, chief executive of RDA, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as Countrywide’s charity of the year, and their support for us has already been outstanding. Events such as this auction offer a fantastic fundraising opportunity, enabling us to extend our services to even more people with disabilities, who can gain therapy, achievement and enjoyment through horse riding. We hope this event will be a great success and thank everyone for their support.”

Click here for more information.

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Honiton all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people

Honiton’s Countrywide store is hosting its very first Farmer Event on Wednesday 2nd December between 8.00 am and 9 pm.

Countrywide is the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community.

The event will be held at Countrywide’s store, located on the Honiton Trade Park, Reme Drive, Heathpark Industrial Estate and will offer visitors expert advice on many farming related issues.

For the event, customers can take advantage of the special 10% off all products* for this one day only.

*(exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers).

The store will also be giving ‘£5 off next purchase’ vouchers to customers spending £50 or more.

There will be complimentary refreshments including a hog roast from 6pm in the evening.

Customers can enter an exclusive Farmer Event draw to win an off-road driving experience for three people.

Store manager, Pete Little said, “The event is a chance for us to meet our customers and show them how we can help them in developing and improving their businesses.

“This all-day event is a ‘must’ for all farm businesses as well as anyone interested in country lifestyles, farming and smallholding.”

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Evesham all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people

Evesham’s Countrywide store is hosting its popular annual Farmer Event on Tuesday 1st December from 8.30 am - 9 pm.

Countrywide is the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community. The farmer event will be held at the Evesham store, Unit 3, Four Fools Retail Park, and will offer visitors expert advice on many farming related subjects. It is being supported by leading suppliers including Novartis, Norbrook, Fort Dodge, Merial, Paxton, Bateman & Rutland whose representatives will be on hand to talk to customers.

For the event, customers can take advantage of the special 10% off all products* for this one day only.

There will be additional competitions and fun events on the day. The money raised will be donated to Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Countrywide’s nominated charity.

Store Manager Sarah Battrick said: “Our farmer’s event is a chance for us to meet our customers and to thank the local community who continue to support Countrywide. We hope visitors will have a chance to enjoy all the activities.

Customers can also enter our exclusive Farmer Event draw to win a day’s off-road driving Land Rover experience for three people.

“This all-day event is a ‘must’ for anyone interested in country lifestyles and farming.”

(*exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers).

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Stockton all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people

Stockton’s Countrywide store is hosting its popular annual Farmer Event on Thursday 3rd December from 8.30 am - 9 pm.

Countrywide is the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community. The farmer event will be held at the Stockton store, Station Mill, Stockton, Southam, and will offer visitors expert advice on many farming related subjects. It is being supported by leading suppliers including Novartis, Norbrook, Fort Dodge, Merial, Paxton, Bateman & Rutland whose representatives will be on hand to talk to customers.

For the event, customers can take advantage of the special 10% off all products* for this one day only. In addition to complimentary refreshments on the day there is a hog roast, starting at 1pm.

Customers can also enter an exclusive Farmer Event draw to win a day’s off-road driving Land Rover experience for three people.

There will be additional competitions and fun events on the day. The money raised will be donated to Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Countrywide’s nominated charity.

Store Manager, Jacob Sutton said: “Our farmer’s event is a chance for us to meet our customers and to thank the local community who continue to support Countrywide.

“This all-day event is a ‘must’ for anyone interested in country lifestyles and farming.”

(*exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers).

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Chipping Norton all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people

Chipping Norton’s Countrywide store is hosting its popular annual Farmer Event on Thursday 26th November from 8.30 am - 9 pm.

Countrywide is the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community. The farmer event will be held at the Chipping Norton store on Banbury Road and will offer visitors expert advice on many farming related subjects. It is being supported by leading suppliers including Novartis, Norbrook, Fort Dodge, Merial, Paxton, Bateman & Rutland whose representatives will be on hand to talk to customers.

For the event, customers can take advantage of the special 10% off all products* for this one day only. In addition to complimentary refreshments on the day there is a hog roast, starting at 6pm.

Customers can enter an exclusive Farmer Event draw to win a day’s off-road driving Land Rover experience for three people.

There will be additional competitions and fun events on the day. The money raised will be donated to Riding for the Disabled (RDA), Countrywide’s nominated charity.

Store Manager, Charlotte Hawes said: “Our farmer’s event is a chance for us to meet our customers and to thank the local community who continue to support Countrywide.

“This all-day event is a ‘must’ for anyone interested in country lifestyles and farming.”

(*exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers).

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Countrywide event puts farmers at the heart of the Ledbury store

Countrywide, the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community, is hosting its annual Farmers Event at the Ledbury store on Tuesday 24th November 2009 from 8.30 am – 9 pm.

The event will offer customers expert advice on many farming and smallholding issues and is supported by leading suppliers including - Novartis, Norbrook, Fort Dodge, Merial, Paxton, Bateman & Rutland – who will be on hand to talk to customers.

There will be demonstrations of country sports and equipment including fishing, clay pigeon shooting and gun dog training.

Countrywide is treating customers to a wine tasting including beers, wines and ciders, and the Heart of England Regional food group will be showcasing regionally produced foods. As well as complimentary refreshments on the day, there will be a pig roast from 6 pm.

Kids activities include face painting and a colouring competition.

Visitors to the store on Hazle Park Dymock Road, Ledbury, can take advantage of 10% off of all products*. And, customers can take advantage of a further 10% off any monthly promotions that are running at the same time as the event.

On the day, there will be an exclusive Farmers’ Event prize draw to win an off road driving experience day for 3 people.

There will be a skittles competition and many other fun activities. Any funds raised will go to Countrywide's nominated Charity, Riding for the Disabled Association, the RDA.

Store Manager Mike Flannagan said: ‘Our farmers event is a chance for us to meet our customers and to thank the local community who continue to support Countrywide and make it such a successful business. We’re hoping customers will have a chance to enjoy all the activities, including the gun dog demonstration’.

* Exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers.

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Bearley all day Farmer event is a ‘must’ for country people

The Bearley Countrywide store is hosting its annual Farmer Event on Wednesday 11th November between 8.30 am and 9 pm.

Countrywide is the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community.

The Bearley store is located at Bearley Mill, Stratford on Avon.

The event offers customers, expert advice on many smallholding and farming related issues.

Suppliers include - Novartis, Norbrook, Fort Dodge, Merial, Paxton, Bateman & Rutland.

Visitors to the store can take advantage on 10% off all products *

Customers can also take advantage of a further 10% off any monthly cost-cut promotions that are running at the same time as the event. There will also be complimentary refreshments including a free pig roast from 6pm in the evening.

Many competitions and prize draws will also be running at the event, where customers can enter our exclusive Farmer Event draw to win an off-roading Land Rover experience for three people and many other prizes.

Store manager, Andy Easthope said, “The purpose of the event is to say thank you and give something back to the local community and especially our farming customers who continue to support Countrywide.

“This all-day event is a ‘must’ for anyone interested in country lifestyles, farming and smallholding.”

* exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers.

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Cirencester Countrywide event put farmers at the heart of the store

Countrywide, the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community, is hosting its annual Farmers Event at the Cirencester store on Thursday 12th November 2009 from 8.30 am – 5.30 pm. The event will offer customers expert advice on many farming and smallholding related issues.

The event is supported by our suppliers including - Novartis, Norbrook, Fort Dodge, Merial, Paxton, Bateman & Rutland – who will be on hand to talk to our customers.

Visitors to the Countrywide store at the Cotswold Agricultural Centre, Spine Road, Junction Cirencester, can take advantage of 10% off of all products*. And, customers can take advantage of a further 10% off any monthly promotions that are running at the same time as the event.

On the day, there will be an exclusive Farmers’ Event prize draw to win an off road driving experience for 3 people, as well as many other prizes.

All proceeds from fun events and fund raising activities will go to Countrywide's nominated Charity, The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

The event is a chance to meet customers and thank the local community who continue to support Countrywide, and make it such a successful business.

* Exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers.

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Melksham Countrywide event put farmers at the heart of the store

Countrywide, the leading UK business in the supply of products to the rural community, is hosting its annual Farmers Event on Tuesday the 17th November 2009 (from 8am - 9pm), offering customers expert advice on many smallholding & farming related issues.

The event is supported by our suppliers including - Novartis, Norbrook, Fort Dodge, Merial, Paxton, Bateman & Rutland – who will be on hand to talk to our customers.

Visitors to the store on Bradford Road, Melksham, can take advantage on 10% off of all products*. And, customers can take advantage of a further 10% off any monthly promotions that are running at the same time as the event. Countrywide will also be offering complimentary refreshments & a hog roast in the evening from 6 pm.

Many competitions and prize draws will be running on the night, including our exclusive Farmers Event free prize draw to win an off road Land Rover driving experience for 3 people, as well as many other prizes.

All proceeds from the fund raising activities on the night will go to Countrywide's nominated Charity, The Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

The farmer event gives us a chance to meet our customers and say thank you to the local community who continue to support Countrywide, and make it such a successful business.

* exclusions include: bulk feed, bedding, fertiliser, seed, vaccines, postage stamps & gift vouchers.

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Countrywide expertise package supports livestock farmers

New from Countrywide, Elite Nutrition is a new and exclusive package of products, services and expertise meeting the needs of dairy, beef and sheep farmers.

Countrywide’s agricultural director, Alistair Folly explains, “The launch of Elite Nutrition by Countrywide represents a major step-forward.”

“The Elite Nutrition package has been developed to meet the ever changing demands of the livestock industry. It includes quality products, leading knowledge and innovation combined with outstanding customer service.”

“Elite Nutrition focuses on flock and herd profitability, improving growth rates, enhancing animal performance and a top quality, end-product.”

“We are very proud of this work which represents a first for the industry”.

As part of the Elite Nutrition innovation, Countrywide has recently reformulated and re-launched its range of sheep and lamb feeds.

It will provide a one stop shop for the rural community.

Beef and sheep farmers will get the chance to learn more about Elite Nutrition by visiting Countrywide’s exhibition stand at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair on 30th November and 1st December at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society Showground in Builth Wells, Powys, Wales.

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TV country expert launches new Country Store

A top TV personality has been lined up to open a new Countrywide-owned store in Taunton, Somerset.

BBC Countryfile presenter, Adam Henson will cut a ribbon to officially open the doors as part of a fun-day on Saturday 14th November at 11am.

This fantastic new-look store is located on Silk Mills Lane, Langford Mead Industrial Estate, Norton Fitzwarren, Taunton.

It will be known as ‘West Country Feeds in association with Countrywide’.

The new name shows how Countrywide, which owns and runs 47 country stores in the UK, have created a new partnership by buying West Country Feeds who have been in the area for 25 years.

Former West Country Feeds Managing Director, Jeremy Philips will stay on at the store continuing to help grow the business and maintaining a high level of equestrian expertise in the business.

It will provide a one stop shop for the rural community.

There will be a strong focus on the equestrian market with specialist equipment, clothing and footwear available supported by expert knowledge and advice. A wide range of pet, farming supplies and animal health and wide range of shooting products will also be available.

Six new jobs will be created.

Activities for the official launch weekend on the 14th and 15th of November include 10% discount off everything in store, Heart Radio road-show, face painting, children’s entertainer Tractor Ted, a colouring competition and a prize draw.

Store manager, Sara Trebilcock said, ‘Here at West Country Feeds with Countrywide we really understand the needs of rural people and rural business. We’re looking forward to a busy day here at the store on our official opening day.

“I was born in the area and, having been a Countywide store manager previously, I am delighted to be able to take up this role looking after the needs of local people."

“I am also delighted that former West Country Feeds Managing Director, Jeremy Philips will join us here as part of the team bringing his expertise to the mix.”

In advance of the official opening, the store started trading on Monday 2nd November.

Taunton Opening

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Result of 2009 EGM and EGM Proxy Votes Received and Result of 2009 AGM

Result of EGM and Proxy Votes Received

The Company is pleased to announce that at the Extraordinary General Meeting held on 24 September 2009 at 2.00pm, both resolutions relating to the adoption of new articles of association were duly passed by way of a poll vote on the resolutions. The result of the poll vote was as follows:

Resolution For Against Withheld % for % against
1 1,218,138 119,111 0 91 9
2 1,176,778 148,584 0 89 11

Result of AGM

The Company is pleased to announce that at the Annual General Meeting held on 24 September 2009 at 2.30pm, all resolutions were duly passed by way of a show of hands.

Enquiries:
L Collins
Company Secretary
Countrywide Farmers plc

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Countrywide Delivers Record Profits for the Second Consecutive Year

Countrywide, the UK’s leading supplier to the rural community, has reported another record-breaking year for sales and profits in its Annual Report for the year to 31st May 2009 published today.

Nigel Hall, Chairman, said ‘I am delighted to report record operating profits for the second consecutive year against the toughest economic conditions seen for a generation in the UK, strong performances in Countrywide’s retail, agricultural and energy businesses has meant that the company’s overall turnover increased by 14% to £216m generating a group operating profit of £2.5m (2008: £1.8m).

John Hardman, Chief Executive, said,’ The last twelve months have seen challenging market conditions so I am particularly delighted to report another strong performance achieved across all our businesses. This has required focused and decisive management supported by the commitment and expertise of all our staff’

‘Whilst we expect these conditions to remain challenging in 2010, we are confident that our strategy will deliver further growth and improvement in business performance,’ Hardman concluded.

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Change in Auction Date

Countrywide Farmers plc is expecting to publish its Annual Results for the period ending 31 May 2009 on 28 August.

Given that an auction was due to take place on 28 August, the Board of Directors has taken the decision to postpone that Sharemark auction for one week in order to allow the market time to absorb the results. The next auction in Countrywide Farmers shares will take place on Friday 4th September at the usual time of 3pm with a cut off time of 2pm.

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New Jobs for Honiton

Countrywide, the UK’s leading supplier of products and advice to the rural community today (July 30th) opens the doors of its new country store in Honiton, Devon. 

This new concept store, which has seen a significant six figure investment, has created 12 new jobs and will offer 12000 products to customers ranging from pet owners to land owners.

In store innovations include a new style equestrian department, an extensive range of pet care and smallholder products supported by information and help points for customers, a garden centre and clothing ranges including Joules and Toggi.

Countrywide also welcomes David Valder as Account Manager for the Honiton area. David will be supporting the local farming and equestrian community with specialist advice on feeds, fertilisers, seeds, crop protection, animal health, harvest products, vermin control, livestock equipment and energy solutions.

Peter Little, Store Manager said, ‘This six figure investment shows the confidence which Countrywide has in the local economy.  My team and I are excited about giving the local community a one stop shop for all their rural needs. The newly introduced bulk deals on animal feed and the free delivery service for our account customers, ensures our customer service and support is unrivalled ’.

The store will be officially opened by the Mayoress of Honiton, Councillor Vivienne Ash and Nigel Hall, Chairman of Countrywide at 1pm.

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Countrywide Charity aims for a world record

15th July 2009

Countrywide, the UK’s leading supplier of products and advice to the rural community, is firmly in the saddle when it comes to supporting Riding for the Disabled Association’s record breaking attempt to stage the World’s Biggest Riding Lesson.

This exciting event will mark the start of the 40th anniversary celebrations for Countrywide’s Charity of the Year - Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

Countrywide launched the year long partnership by handing over a cheque for £15,000 at RDA’s National Championships on July 11. Countrywide will be boosting awareness of RDA’s celebratory events through a series of promotions in all its 45 stores.

“Countrywide are delighted to announce their association with RDA.  As the largest equestrian retailer in the UK, Countrywide believe their investment in RDA is the most appropriate way to support a key part of the Rural community, which has demonstrated so much loyalty to our business over recent years” explained Countrywide’s Chief Executive John Hardman.

“Our staff are really excited about the partnership, so much so they have also adopted the RDA as their chosen charity and as such will be fund raising all year on  behalf of the RDA” he added.

“We are delighted that Countywide are supporting RDA in this way.  Many Countrywide stores are already linked with RDA Groups – so there is a natural partnership.  Countrywide’s support will help us make sure this is a really memorable 40th anniversary for RDA and that the legacy remains in the form of more volunteers and greater awareness of what we do” commented Ed Bracher, RDA’s Chief Executive.

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Countrywide acquires Carmarthen & Pumsaint Monmouth business

10th July 2009

Countrywide are delighted to announce the purchase of Carmarthen and Pumsaint’s (CPF) Monmouth business as part of Countrywide’s strategic vision for business growth in the agricultural sector.

The CPF business predominantly sells farm inputs such as animal health products, dairy chemicals and supplies, fencing materials and other farm requisites. This latest Countrywide acquisition will complement the company’s position as the leading supplier to the rural community offering not just quality products but expert knowledge and specialist advice.

The team of four members of staff at the CPF Monmouth site will transfer to Countrywide on the 10th July 2009, relocating to the Countrywide Raglan store on 13th July. This acquisition will strengthen both operations, offer a wider portfolio of products and provide an improved service to customers.

Alistair Folly, Agriculture Director, Countrywide said,’ we are delighted to be welcoming the Monmouth team on board. CPF have a shared reputation with Countrywide for providing excellent customer service. This purchase is very much in line with Countrywide’s strategic growth plans for Wales and the broader agricultural business’.

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Countrywide Farmers plc (the "Company") 2008 Long Term Incentive Plan (“LTIP”) for key executives

28 May 2009

Countrywide Farmers plc announces that the Countrywide Farmers plc 2008 Long Term Investment Plan as amended has been adopted by the Board of Directors. The LTIP is designed to align the interests of the participants with those of the shareholders by focusing on long term value creation.

In accordance with the rules of the LTIP the following conditional nil cost share awards to the Executive Directors and certain members of senior management were granted on 28 May 2009 at a price of 27 pence per ordinary share (the weighted average share price for the preceding three months) as follows:

No. of Ordinary Shares subject to LTIP Award

John Hardman Managing Director  149,309  
Les Collins Finance Director 102,194
Senior Management 153,806
Total 405,309

The shares involved in the LTIP awards will be released in three years' time subject to their continued employment and the satisfaction of the following performance conditions:

• 50% of the award is subject to the Company's cumulative profit before interest and tax performance over the three-year period achieving agreed targets.

• 50% of the award is subject to the Company's cumulative cash generation over the three-year period achieving agreed targets.

The shares required to satisfy the Awards will be either existing shares held or acquired by the Company for the purpose of employee benefits or new shares allotted and issued for the purpose.

For further information, please contact Les Collins (Company Secretary) on 01386 757 282.

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Countrywide Names First Marketing Director

10th May 2009

Countrywide is delighted to announce the appointment of its first marketing director. The newly-created position reports directly to John Hardman, Chief Executive and sits on the Executive Board working closely with the three business directors.

Trevor Phipps joins the rural supply business having spent over twenty years in senior marketing roles at Vodafone NTL:Telewest/Virgin Media, Argos and the banking sector.

The position was created to provide strategic integrated customer marketing for the agriculture, energy and retail businesses within the company in order to drive business sales and build on its profit growth. 

John Hardman said ‘I am delighted that Trevor has agreed to take up this new and exciting role in Countrywide. His skills and experience will be invaluable in supporting Countrywide’s vision and strategy for developing business growth.’

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New Finance Business makes its Mark

30th April 2009

The Countrywide Asset Management business, based in Defford, Worcestershire is trading strongly less than a year after its launch.

That is the upbeat message from co-founders Neil Monks and Ashley Lynne. The business was set up in August 2008 by Countrywide to give their customers a helping hand with big capital purchases like vehicles, plant and equipment.

With around 30 individual businesses signing up to this latest venture and over 100 new orders being taken to date worth £1.6m, it is clear that customers have welcomed the support.  Greg Mowbray, Managing Director of Meadow Quality Limited, one of the first Asset Management customers said, ‘We look for the best combination of value, expertise and independence from our suppliers. We have appreciated Countrywide Asset Management’s full transparency on real costs which, of course are competitively priced and the service is always courteous and efficient.’

Neil Monks, Head of Countrywide Asset Management has 20 years of experience working in the vehicle/asset finance industry. With a background in sales and commercial development of companies such as HSBC, the Lex Group and Arval, Monks is well placed to help manage clients’ costs and plan for the future.

“We keep pace with all the changes in today’s volatile economic climate and take the hassle out of managing assets for our customers.” explains Monks.

‘Countrywide Asset Management is determined to build on Countrywide’s successful reputation in providing trusted advice and expertise particularly in the current economic climate’

Neil Monks concluded, ‘We would be delighted to invite any businesses to contact Countrywide Asset Management where we will be to offer them impartial advice, real choice and value for money’

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Welland Valley Feeds is on the move!

20th April 2009

Welland Valley Feeds LogoAgricultural, Equestrian and Pet retailer, Welland Valley Feeds, is moving to new, larger premises.

From 27th April 2009 the business will be relocated to the Ground Floor of the Old Furniture Barn on Rockingham Road, Market Harborough.

The new store on Rockingham Road will include an inspiring refurbishment designed to improve layout, merchandising of ranges and enhance all elements of the customer shopping experience.

The creation of additional space allows for the introduction of exciting new product ranges including an extended clothing range, machinery, fishing and shooting accessories and energy products.

“Customers will see lots of exciting developments in the new store,” says Welland Valley’s Managing Director Kerry Farnsworth “For example the shop floor area has been greatly improved with new fixtures and lighting.  The new overall layout and feel of the store is light and friendly and meets our aim to deliver unbeatable customer service and we have been able to introduce some exciting new ranges,” she adds.

“Welland Valley Feeds work in association with Countrywide Farmers plc and the ongoing investment from Countrywide in the Welland Valley business has enabled us to continue to grow, including creating additional job opportunities at the new site” Kerry adds.

The new store at Rockingham Road will open at 8.00am on Monday 27th April and from 3rd May will also be open on a Sunday from 10.00am to 4.00pm.
The store will be officially launched with a promotional weekend on 16th and 17th May with special offers on many products throughout the store.
For information on the new store or the launch weekend contact 01858 461 463

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Countrywide Host Key Event for Dairy Farmers

19th March 2009

Improving Longevity in the High Yielding Dairy Cow will be the key theme at an event to be hosted by Countrywide on 31st March held at the Dewstow Golf Club, Caerwent, Chepstow, Monmouthshire.

Dairy herd replacement rates have been rising over the years due largely to problems associated with higher yields and increased herd size. Infertility, lameness and high cell counts are all common reasons for culling cows, often before they have realised their full potential in the herd. As the profitability of dairy farming continues to come under pressure it is vital that dairy farmers look to improve longevity in order to cut the rising costs associated with either rearing or purchasing dairy herd replacements.


The event will be chaired by Oliver Bayston of Countrywide who will provide the opening address. Presentations from George Collins from Alta Genetics, Will Tulley Bvet Med MRCVS of Tyndale Farm Vets and David Wilde Consultant Nutritionist will all focus on the key issues surrounding dairy cow longevity including breeding and genetics, animal health, nutrition and herd management. Gwilym Richards FRICS FAAV pedigree livestock auctioneer will give the summary & close.

Alistair Folly, Agriculture Director at Countrywide said ‘The Countrywide business lies at the heart of the rural community and we see firsthand how the dairy industry has been affected over the last few years. Organising this important event demonstrates our commitment to providing leading-edge thinking and insights coupled with practical information and help to address these challenges. We hope as many farmers as possible come along’.

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Countrywide Bridgwater Supports Riding for the Disabled

5th March 2009

Countrywide Country Store in Bridgwater has shown its commitment to supporting the rural community by donating 10 new bridles to the Norton Fitzwarren riding centre for disabled people who had specialist riding equipment stolen valued at £50,000.

The Conquest Centre in Somerset has had to cancel the lessons it provides to 144 disabled riders because of the break in.

Tracey Rose, Store Manager at Countrywide in Bridgwater said “We are delighted to be able to support the local riding centre and we have ordered 10 new bridles to donate to the centre. The team at the store will also be holding car washing in our store car park on Sunday 8th and 15th March to raise money to help the centre replace some of their equipment. We really hope this goes some way towards helping the riding centre get running again and in offering the fantastic service that it does”.

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Countrywide unveils brand new look for Bromsgrove store

5 March 2009

Countrywide’s Bromsgrove store is unveiling an exciting new look to offer customers an inspiring and greatly improved shopping experience.

The store’s re -fit is designed to improve layout, merchandising of ranges and all elements of the customer shopping experience.  Account customers, local business and shareholders have been invited to a VIP event at the Bromsgrove store at Brickhouse Lane, Stoke Prior on Tuesday 10th March from 4.00pm to 9.00pm for a preview of the store and formal opening. This will then be followed up by a launch weekend on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 March, when customers and the local community can take advantage of 10% off and other special promotions on offer.

“Customers will see lots of exciting developments in store,” says Countrywide’s Store Manager Rebecca Jones “For example the shop floor area has been greatly improved with new fixtures and lighting.  The new overall layout and feel of the store is light and friendly and meets Countrywide’s aim to deliver unbeatable customer service,” she adds.

“We will be holding a VIP event on Tuesday 10 March from 4.00pm to 9.00pm where local account holders, customers and guests can take advantage of promotions, offers, advice and information on new product lines from our newly launched Spring ranges, as well as the opportunity to speak to our sector specific specialists,” explains Rebecca.  “These events offer an ideal forum for account holders and customers to speak to us directly with particular questions or for information on individual products or issues, be it feed, supplements and animal health, livestock equipment, fencing or gates for example.” she explains.

For further information on the new look Bromsgrove store, the launch offers weekend, or VIP event please contact Countywide on 01527 831663.

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New Countrywide Organisation Development

2nd March 2009

In order to build on the success Countrywide has achieved over the last 18 months and to support the activities of the Main Board, I am pleased to announce the creation of an Executive Board with immediate effect. The principal responsibilities of this new board are to drive the implementation of the companies strategic plans and to direct the day to day activities of the business.

This change aligns our organisation structure with that operating in comparable businesses and, at the same time, the job titles of the members of the Executive Board are being changed to better reflect the responsibilities of its members.

The Executive Board will initially comprise:

•    John Hardman - Chief Executive
•    Les Collins - Finance Director and Company Secretary
•    David Asquith – Energy Director
•    Alistair Folly – Agri Director
•    Garry Wharmby – Retail Director

In order to support the next key stage of Countrywide’s development, to ensure our customers and their needs are truly at the centre of all activities, a much more strategic approach to marketing to our customers is required. The company therefore intends to begin recruiting the new role of Marketing Director in the near future and the successful candidate will be a member of the new Executive Board reporting to John Hardman, Chief Executive.

The key objective for this new role is to provide customer specific marketing support to the Retail, Energy and Agri Directors thus ensuring they deliver their business sales and profit growth targets. The Marketing team led by Becky Barningham and Pat Sykes – Customer Relationship Manager will report to the new role.

Nigel Hall, Chairman

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Countrywide Announce Record Half Year Results

27th February 2009

Despite the tough economic conditions, Countrywide, the UKs leading supplier to the rural community, is on course for record profits this year.

That was the upbeat message to shareholders from Chairman, Nigel Hall on reporting Countrywide’s strong half-year performance across all businesses.  For the first time in its history they generated an operating profit in the first half of the financial year.

A retail like for like sales increase of over six per cent and an improved margin performance was boosted by a store refurbishment programme and the opening of a new store in Waterlooville, Hampshire. The policy of improving the store estate and growth through new store openings and acquisition continues into the second half of the year.

The group’s agricultural business responded well to volatile commodity prices by improving profitability and the arable business also recorded an excellent first six month with sales and margins in seed, crop protection and fertiliser all performing strongly.

The acquisition of Cotswold Fuels, full ownership of its LPG energy business and the cold weather boosted sales in the Energy business despite customers reacting cautiously to global price volatility. The Energy business is performing well ahead of expectations and further growth is anticipated.

“We expect the company’s improved performance to be maintained in the second half of the year, and that full year operating profit will be substantially ahead of that reported last year,” explained Mr Hall.

 “Market conditions remain highly volatile for all three of our businesses but our growth strategy continues to be effective,” he said.

A copy of the Interim Report & Accounts November 2008 is avaiable for download here PDF (1,775 KB)

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Countrywide Nuneaton Supports Riding for the Disabled

23rd February 2009

Countrywide Country Store in Nuneaton has shown its commitment to supporting the rural community by donating horse feed and disinfectant to the Warwickshire riding centre for disabled people whose horses have been struck down by disease.

Sarah Orme, Store Manager at Countrywide in Nuneaton said “We are delighted to be able to support the local riding centre and we have donated enough bags of horse feed to keep the centre running for four weeks. We have also donated disinfectant to help the centre combat the further spread of the disease and we will deliver free of charge at 2pm on Friday 27th March. We really hope this goes some way towards keeping the riding centre running and in offering the fantastic service that it does”.

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Countrywide Strengthens Commitment to Animal Health

6th February 2009

Countrywide is delighted to announce that approval has been given for its training centre at Witney to become an accredited examination centre to train and certify staff for the sales and prescription of animal health products.

In line with Animal Medicine Regulations 2005, a new Code of Practice was introduced with stricter guidelines on the sale and supply of animal medicines. One fundamental change under these regulations was that all staff able to sell animal medicines – Suitably Qualified People (SQPs) – must also have a nationally recognized qualification approved by the Animal Medicines Training and Regulatory Authority (AMTRA).

The new SQP examination centre at Witney will mean that Countrywide can be flexible in scheduling its own AMTRA courses to meet customer demand with the first ones taking place between now and March. Currently there are around 180 AMTRA –qualified staff working for Countrywide and the aim is to increase this to at least 200 by the end of year. It is believed that this is the highest number of trained staff to date for any UK company selling animal health products.

‘Countrywide is well recognised for the excellent customer service it provides to those living in rural communities. Our achievement of this accreditation will further enhance the quality of expert service we can provide to our customers whilst strengthening our commitment to staff training and knowledge transfer in this important area of animal health,’ said Michelle O’Connor, Group HR and Training Manager, Countrywide.

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Renewables

6th February 2009

As the economic and weather conditions prove challenging for many companies, Countrywide’s renewables business has seen an increase in customer enquiries about wood pellet and biomass heating.
 
Customer perception is that this is still a relatively new form of heating and for many people, the decision to convert to this form of heating is a significant and lengthy one. However there has been a growing interest over the last couple of months with a 60% increase in customers enquiring about this alternative form of energy. And with the recent cold snap, January sales of wood pellets were around double those in December.

Feedback to date has been very positive with customers saying  that wood pellet and biomass heating can be a convenient, efficient and sustainable energy option.

Julie Jones-Ford, Renewables Manager said,’ With the fluctuating oil markets and fuel security as a growing concern, our customers can depend on Countrywide to provide specialist advice and expertise to help them make the right energy choices for their homes’

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Countrywide acquires Dene’s Country Store

3rd February 2009

Countrywide is delighted to announce that it has acquired Dene’s Country Store, a specialist supplier of bulk feed and bedding directly to the equestrian market and specifically to large livery yards.

This latest acquisition by Countrywide is seen as a major breakthrough for the company to create opportunities for significant business growth in the equestrian sector.

Dene’s Country Stores’ location in Liphook, Hampshire, very close to Countrywide’s Country store, will synergise the strengths of the two businesses and will offer customers a comprehensive range of products and services to all equestrians.

Garry Wharmby, General Manager for Countrywide Retail said, ‘As a leading retailer in the rural community, I am delighted that our retail and trade customers will benefit from an unparalled service and product offering’.

John Hardman, Managing Director for Countrywide commented ‘Against the backdrop of harsh economic conditions for the retail industry as a whole, Countrywide is continuing to demonstrate the robustness of its business strategy and its commitment to the rural economy and to the people who live and work in the rural community.’ 

George Rolls, Managing Director of Dene Country Stores Holdings said ' we are delighted to have concluded the sale of Dene Country Stores to Countrywide. This represents a big step forward for the business and will benefit customers and suppliers alike. The infrastructure and support from a larger parent company will be good for the staff and local community.'

Countrywide will operate the business as usual for the foreseeable future to ensure a smooth transition and it will continue to trade under the Dene’s brand in association with Countrywide.

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Vital Fuel Supplies Beat the Big Whiteout

2nd February 2009

Countrywide, the UK’s leading rural specialist based in Worcestershire, is pulling out all the stops to maintain vital supplies of fuel to hundreds of snowbound customers across the Midlands.

As Arctic conditions crippled the South East and brought London to a virtual standstill, crisis preparations over the weekend ensured that the entire Countrywide’s fleet of tankers maintained a full delivery service.

Such deliveries are critical to remote rural communities because unlike those in the towns and cities, they do not have gas and electricity fed directly into their homes. ‘Countrywide will be maintaining a high crisis response levels for as long as these adverse weather conditions last ‘said David Asquith.

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Horse Lover Helen Wins Dream Shopping Spree

16th January 2009

Helen Hughes, a mum of two from Thornbury, who owns three horses and runs a local livery yard, has scooped the top prize in a national prize draw for horse owners held by retailer Countrywide during its recent series of ‘Equine Evenings’ in its stores across the UK.

Helen attended the event in the Thornbury store on 21 October 2008 and her name was later picked at random from over 1,500 horse lovers who entered the draw.  The top prize, kindly provided by Fort Dodge, manufacturer of leading worming products EQUEST and EQUEST PRAMOX, is a £1,000 ‘Supermarket Sweep’ in the Thornbury store.  Helen claim