Rural products retailer Countrywide has secured £26m to support organic growth, a store refit programme and potential acquisitions.
The funding package, from HSBC’s West and Wales Corporate team, comprises a refinanced £14m revolving credit facility, which will run until 2015, and a £12m invoice finance line which enables the retailer to borrow against invoices.
Countrywide has already invested £2m to lower prices and has refitted several stores with new flooring, lighting and product ranges more attuned to its core customer base of farmers.
The 50-store retailer will roll out the features to the remainder of its estate and aims to increase its store presence in the South West, East Midlands and Southern England.
Countrywide has acquired three businesses this year – agricultural merchants Hacketts, grain trader Heart of England Grain and HC Pearce & Sons, an animal health company. It has also recently acquired a stake in Sterling Sires, a specialist bull semen company.
The retailer was forced to make redundancies earlier this year after facing difficult trading conditions.
Countrywide finance director Les Collins said: “There are many challenges for the market in which we operate. Trading conditions remain tough and rural retailing is not immune from the difficult economic climate.
“We have implemented a robust plan for growth that underpins Countrywide’s core business. We are investing now to secure the future of the company and continue to look at new acquisition opportunities throughout the UK, but particularly in Southern England.”