Countrywide Farmers, which has 48 stores and more than 700 staff, has gone into administration.
Administrators KPMG has stated that no “initial redundancies” have been made. In a statement, Countrywide directors said with “significant regret” the business faces “a very uncertain future”.
Last month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) found that Mole Valley’s proposed purchase of the retail arm of Countrywide Farmers could push up prices or lower quality in 45 local areas
The CMA also found that the companies’ retail businesses compete closely, resulting in reduced competition for customers in 25 of the 45 local areas after the merger.
In a blog post on Countrywide’s website, its directors said: “The board is disappointed to report that the sale did not receive approval to proceed and had been referred into a Phase 2 process, which ordinarily can be expected to take up to six months to conclude.
“The administrators will determine the appropriate course of action and future for the business. It is with significant regret that the Countrywide retail business, which trades from 48 stores and employs over 700 staff will now face a very uncertain future.”