The mild winter is being blamed for the fall in profits and turnover at major rural retailer Countrywide Farmers.

Figures released for the year to the end of May reveal a 2.5% fall in group turnover to £298.2m, compared to £306m for the previous 12 months.

The company also reported a slump in operating profit before exceptional costs to £1.9m from £4.3m in 2013.

“These are disappointing results,” said chairman Nigel Hall. “The mild winter impacted us, with a fall in volumes of 20% in LPG sales and 15% in compound feed sales.”

He said the company is “confident that 2015 will see an improvement” and that a more normal winter “will have a positive impact upon profits”.

But not all rural retailers have been affected.

Paul Bentham, of Robinsons Country Leisure, said: “We are quite happy with our sales performance over the year.”

He said every retailer is “to some extent dependent on the weather, but there are many other factors involved”.

Andy Skarzynskin from Mole Valley Farmers added: “Despite the mild winter we have enjoyed year-on-year sales growth.”

This news story was first published in H&H magazine on 11 September 2014