Continued trade throughout the pandemic has not all been glowing for Mole Valley Farmers, who have recorded a 4% decrease in revenue this year.

Mole Valley Farmers traded throughout the pandemic, ensuring farmer members and rural customers were able to access key goods and services. All four ruminant feed mills continued to operate, whilst processes were quickly put in place in all trading and back office locations to ensure a Covid-safe environment for staff and customers.

Fuel sales increased by 1.4m litres on the year, but significant price deflation as a result of the pandemic, coupled with lower fertiliser sales, meant the Group’s revenue was down 4% on the previous year to £473m. However, Group operating profit was £2.9m, putting the British farmer,owned cooperative in a good position to look forward to the future with confidence.

CEO, Jack Cordery, who took over following the retirement of Andrew Jackson in May 2020, commented: “Throughout all that we faced in 2019/20, we have continued to invest in people, infrastructure, innovation and cost efficiency, whilst remaining closely aligned with our core values and sense of purpose. What drives us every day is helping our farmer shareholders to improve their on-farm profitability, productivity and sustainability, whilst creating a competitive pricing environment.”

The business’ continued relevance to farmer shareholders was reflected in the fact sales of core agriculture products represented 74% of annual turnover, whilst the number of active member accounts grew by 9.4%. £1.8m was returned to members as a result of point of sale discounts.

Jack added: “The feed business managed its overall cost base exceptionally well, focused on driving operational efficiencies and continued to invest in capacity, capability and technical expertise. As such, the operating results reflected our ambitions at the start of the year and have provided us with a great base to continue to grow in 2021 and beyond.”

Although the number of in-store transactions reduced on the year, reflecting reduced shopper visits as a result of national lockdown and movement restrictions, average basket spend was up 6.6%. This meant retail revenues grew by 2% for the year.

Other key performance figures include:

  • 9129 farmer shareholders – up 1.2% on the year
  • Agricultural revenue – £224.7m, down 8.6%
  • Mole Country Stores – revenue up 7.3% to £98.4m
  • Bridgmans Farm Direct – revenue of £17.1m up 2.4% on a like-for-like category basis
  • EBITDA – £8.3m – an increase of £0.6m