The Carr’s Group reports trading in line with expectations, despite the Covid-19 restrictions.

The Carlisle-based group of animal feed, rural retail and engineering businesses reports that trading in the 19 weeks to July 11th 2020
remains in line with its Board’s expectations for the current financial year that ends on August 29th.

It says the Group continues to trade through the COVID-19 pandemic with no material financial impact seen to date, adding that the health, safety and wellbeing of colleagues and customers remains of paramount importance.

The Agriculture division is currently trading ahead of the Board’s expectations, with all its UK and overseas manufacturing facilities and UK network of Carr’s Billington Agriculture retail outlets remaining operational throughout the pandemic. Over the last 19 weeks, the division’s trading has been ahead of expectations.

Although there was a temporary dip in the average farmgate milk price at the start of lockdown, the UK livestock industry has operated as usual during the trading period. Livestock farmers were faced with unseasonably dry weather at the start of the 19 week period, followed by cooler than usual temperatures. This combined to reduce grass and forage crop growth with a consequent marginal increase in the demand for feeds, feed supplements and fuels.

In the US, where Carr’s makes and sells feed block products, Covid-19 outbreaks led to the closure of large central meat processing plants, which blocked cattle movement from farms and led to a drop in cattle prices. In turn, there was an adverse impact on supplementary feed sales. The company expects the low US cattle prices and weak demand for feed supplements to persist into full year 2021.

The Carr’s board says it continues to monitor the Group closely to ensure revenues are protected and discretionary costs are closely controlled. It adds: “The Group remains well placed, owing to its strong and diverse businesses; robust financial position; and the ongoing demand across the majority of its markets for the provision of essential products and services.”