The equestrian retailer Derby House is restructuring its business to focus on its online operation, meaning that all bar one of its eight stores will be closed or sold.

Managing director Nigel Cliffe told H&H: “We’ve got ourselves in a sticky place. The stores we have are not best suited to how we want to grow our business and we’ve lost some of our heritage as an equestrian retailer.

“But we do have a good web and mail order business, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

The one outlet that has been given a reprieve is the 10,000sq ft flagship Wrightington store in Lancashire.

Mr Cliffe explained: “Wrightington is well suited to what we want to do, offers shoppers a fantastic experience and is in a great location. At present the store, website and mail order business are all up on budget forecasts.”

The Derby House stores at Matlock and Malton have already been closed and staff made redundant. Derby House has now put its Glasgow, Dundonald and Moreton outlets up for sale.

Mr Cliffe said: “There is massive interest from a number of buyers who are in the process of sorting out their funding. But if the sale doesn’t come off, there will be further redundancies.”

Mr Cliffe, who described the restructuring as a “positive and necessary step”, joined Derby House from struggling high street retailer Mothercare six weeks ago. Mothercare has recently shut 110 of its stores to focus on online sales.

Derby House customers expressed disappointment at the news on the company’s Facebook page.

“Is your Glasgow store closing down? I hope not, I would be lost without it,” said one.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (30 June, 2011)