Carr's Group looks forward to the future as pandemic eases

Agriculture firm Carr’s Group has delivered a strong improvement in first half profits, underpinning expectations of a return to growth over the full year.

Carr's Group sells everything from horse feed to wellington boots

The firm has country retail stores in Skipton, Otley and Hawes, which are a one stop shop for everything rural customers need from wellington boots, animal feed to tractors. The group expects to see an improved second half as the impact of Covid-19 begins to recede.

It said a continued positive performance is forecast across its agricultural divisions, together with an improved second half in the engineering division as the pandemic issues recede and its order intake continues to increase.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

A programme of simplification and standardisation is forecast to improve performance over time. Trading since February 27 has been positive and the board’s expectations for the current financial year remain unchanged.

Hugh Pelham, Carr's chief executive, said: “Despite a challenging operational environment with significant headwinds experienced in engineering we have delivered an improved performance compared to the same period last year.

"Our speciality agriculture and agricultural supplies divisions have performed particularly strongly. The outlook for engineering is for an improved performance in the second half of the financial year.

“I have been fortunate to inherit some sound foundations from my predecessor, Tim Davies. Carr’s Group owns a portfolio of good businesses with strong market positions.

“Our people have responded brilliantly to the challenge of working in a Covid-19 environment. I would like to thank them for their commitment and dedication in keeping all our stores, fuel depots and manufacturing operations running in such difficult times."

He said that an initial operating review has been conducted and the group is now structured in three divisions: speciality agriculture, agricultural supplies and engineering to create greater operational efficiencies, market focus and provide greater transparency for investors.

He added: "The results of our speciality agriculture division demonstrate the quality of our products in the feed block, minerals and animal health markets.

“Actions have been taken to strengthen reporting and governance systems within the business as part of a process to identify opportunities for improvement.

“Considerable opportunity exists to optimise the current portfolio through a process of standardisation, simplification and seeking synergies between similar businesses. Growth can be achieved through a mixture of geographic expansion, selling all our service lines to our customer base, and acquisition and potential industry consolidation.

“I am confident that the Group will continue to deliver a resilient and improving set of results over time.”

Carr's said it has a resilient business model despite Covid-19 and Brexit uncertainty and all agricultural stores and manufacturing facilities were operational throughout lockdowns.