Countrywide Farmers is undergoing a major restructure to enable the company to increase its focus on its equine retail business.

The company has sold its farm livestock feed and forage, arable products and crop marketing businesses for a combined total of £18.4m. As a result of the sale Countrywide will now invest more money into its 53 stores across England and Wales.

The decision comes after Countrywide announced last autumn that it had suffered a fall in profits and turnover. At the time the company blamed the mild weather for the decline.

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

“This has been a difficult decision,” said John Hardman, Countrywide Farmers’ chief executive. “It comes at the end of a significant strategic review of how best we can deliver sustainable improvement in shareholder value.

“We have concluded that Countrywide Farmers can best serve its customers and shareholders by investing in our Countrystore network and multichannel platform rather than our direct to farm business,”

Sara Blackshaw (pictured above), Countrywide’s equine category manager, said that the restructure represented a “significant opportunity” for the equine business.

“We have seen the business grow substantially over the past three years and we are in a strong position to continue this growth with our new corporate focus.”

Mr Hardman added: “Focusing the business on areas where we have a leading position and where we can generate strong returns is a key part of our strategy and will allow us to deliver enhanced shareholder value over the medium and longer term.

“The business is now well financed to ensure that we can successfully deliver on this strategy and we look forward to ensuring the equine business continues developing its strong position.”