Mole Valley Farmers is to open new stores later this year, as part of an investment in its estate, which might also include acquisition activity, and existing store revamps.
Speaking in the July issue of OvertheCounter, Jack Cordery, chief executive of Mole Valley Farmers, said: “We’ll start off probably with three or four new stores a year and work our way up. Our strategy is looking at new stores based around the agricultural customer, where we can bring everything that the co-operative does, plus the knowledge of nutritionists, vets, animal health, hygiene and environment.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Cordery said that the company, which has 58 stores, has looked at in-store franchise models around animal medicines and also looked at single entity businesses as acquisition targets.
“Conversely, if there’s somebody who’s got three four stores that they would like to sell, then that might be of interest too,” he said. “We are very committed to agriculture, we’re committed to the model, and we believe with the knowledge that we’ve got, the loyalty bonus, the membership structure and our position in the market, we can bring value to the customer base.”
In the 12 months to September 30, 2021, Mole Valley Farmers made significant investments in a number of its existing stores.
Mr Cordery said: “Having acquired Penzance, following the demise of Countrywide Farmers, sales have grown by more than 25%.
“We took the opportunity to take the entire footprint, extend the yard, retail space and breadth of products and introduce regionally sourced food and drink.
“We invested in Cirencester, another ex-Countrywide store – the store grew sales by over 27% in the last financial year.”