BARNSBY ENTERS CVA WITH CREDITORS

30th December, 2013.

Jabez Cliff and Company Ltd, which trades as Barnsby Saddlery, has entered a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) with its major creditors.

As reported in ETN (January issue), the Walsall based company announced seven redundancies earlier in December. In addition, its self-employed saddle fitters were asked to hand back their company vans.

The CVA was agreed on 23 December.

Mike Lord, chairman, commented: "This has been a testing and frustrating time for the business and we are disappointed to have put our creditors in the position we did.

“We do now, however, have a much improved financial position which - together with some cost restructuring measures - will help us to grow the business profitably in 2014 and beyond.”

More on this story in the February issue of ETN.


HOW TO HANDLE RETURNS

30th December, 2013.

‘Returns’ is the subject of a new retailer seminar at BETA International next month.

Presenter Sylvia Rook, from Trading Standards, will look at retailers’ rights as well as those of their customers.

After Christmas, many retailers experience high levels of returns. This seminar will help traders distinguish between unwanted gifts and the genuinely faulty, among other issues.

The seminar takes place on Sunday, 16 February. There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day.

BETA International is at the NEC, Birmingham on 16 – 18 February. Visit www.beta-int.com to find out more. Admission is free to bona fide retailers who pre-register.


FEED FIRM BOOSTS SALES FORCE

27th December, 2013.

Two new area managers join Dodson & Horrell’s sales team next month (January).

Lee Holloway covers Wales, Shropshire and Worcestershire. Charlotte Ford takes on Nottinghamshire and surrounding counties on a 12-month maternity cover contract.

Lee was previously a sales executive with Alliance Healthcare Ltd. Charlotte has sales and marketing and equine industry experience.

Sam Horrell is Dodson & Horrell’s marketing director and oversees the sales team.


VAT HIKE PROMPTS FRENCH ‘EQUITAX’ PROTESTS

20th December, 2013.

The French equestrian community will take to the streets of European cities on Monday (23 December) to protest about their Government’s new VAT levy.

Currently much of France’s equestrian sector benefits from a reduced VAT rate of 5.5% as the sport is considered to promote physical and sporting activity.

But the Government’s proposal to raise it to 19.6% on 1 January is being dubbed an ‘equitax’ by the country’s horse industry.

The move follows a European Commission challenge after a recent judgment in the Court of Justice went against the Netherlands on the ground that horses are not normally intended for food.

France has a 2.3 million regular riders. The proposed VAT increase will cause the closure of 2,000 equestrian centres [of France’s 7,000], the loss of 6,000 jobs [of 40,000] and 80,000 horses to be slaughtered, according to the French Equestrian Federation.

On Monday, convoys of protesters are expected to travel by horsebox for rallies in Paris, Le Mont St Michel and Nantes in France, as well as Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Turin, Barcelona and The Hague.


SUPPLIERS BRING CHRISTMAS CHEER TO CHILDREN

19th December, 2013.

Abbey England and Stubbs have sent a special gift to the children who ride with the Gartmore Riding for the Disabled (RDA) group.

The two equestrian suppliers donated a strengthened, life-size model horse called Ashby to the Staffordshire based centre.

“Ashby can help with balance, core stability and confidence,” said Peter Philips of Abbey England. “We hope he’ll make a difference to many riders over the years.”

Gartmore RDA teaches riding to special needs children, as well as young adults from care homes and those with disabilities.


NEW REP FOR WHOLESALER

19th December, 2013.

Piers Westerman has joined French wholesaler Ekkia as representative for the south-east of England.

He was previously with Matchmakers International for three years.

Leicestershire based Piers comes from a horsey family. He has a young daughter who enjoys riding.


HORSE & COUNTRY TV CAN BE VIEWED “EVERYWHERE”

18th December, 2013.

Fans of Horse & Country TV can now watch the channel from their smart phones or online in parallel with programming on Sky.

H&C TV Everywhere, available for a monthly subscription of £4.99, launched on Monday (December 16). 

The service allows viewers to watch the live channel online through the H&C TV website and through apps that can be downloaded for free from the iTunes and Android app stores.

H&C TV Everywhere subscribers can also view shows they’ve missed in the past seven days, plus exclusive programming on demand. 

 “This initiative allows us to bring our channel to the many millions of TV households in the UK and Ireland that can’t currently view it, as well as to our existing Sky viewers who want the utility of being able to watch the channel on the go,” said managing director  Richard Burdett.


VAT VICTORY FOR HEADWEAR SUPPLIER

17th December, 2013.

A victory over the taxman has enabled Buffera to remove VAT from its junior and child labelled headwear products.

Baby Buffs are already exempt from VAT.

The new zero rate means a £2.50 cut in the retail price of junior sized Original Buffs.

Buffera revealed it had been lobbying the tax authorities on the issue for several years.  “We’re delighted with the outcome,” said company secretary Mark Sarah.

“Based on other products’ precedents where the designs featured clearly target the under 12s, we’ve won our case.

“The removal of VAT on the whole of the [Buff] Kids Collection will mean more sales for retailers.”

The change in price is effective from 1 January. Orders placed previously but delivered after that date will be price adjusted.

Buffera says it has “reluctantly” made increases to its general price list. The move comes after five years without change, during which time it has absorbed the VAT increase and fluctuations in the exchange rate.


£22m BOOST FOR CLOTHING LABEL

16th December, 2013.

Joules has had a £22m investment from Lloyds Development Capital (LDC).

The clothing company has 76 UK shops and an e-commerce operation, linked by a ‘click and collect’ service, plus stores in Singapore and South Korea.

Pre-tax profits in the year to May were £3.7m.

Sales are growing by 23% year on year, according to managing director Colin Porter. “The retail and direct channels are at plus 31% and wholesale at plus 15% on last year,” he added.

“The margins have also continued to show further improvements as the company focus has been on selling at full price.”

In other new ventures, Joules has taken pop-up stores at Bicester Village and is to launch in Gatwick Airport. It already has permanent sites at St Pancras and Waterloo stations.

“With the support of LDC, we can accelerate the next steps of our journey,” said founder and CEO Tom Joule.

• This story first appeared in the December issue of ETN.  


NEW SHOW INVITES CONSUMERS TO HAVE-A-GO

13th December, 2013.

A new show from the organiser of Your Horse Live is set for the South of England Showground on 26/27 April.

Visitors to Total Confidence Live will be invited to ‘have-a-go’ at various equestrian activities.

As well as riding a Western horse or dressage schoolmaster, riders can bring their own horses to the West Sussex venue for coaching from top names.

“We want to make it good value with tickets at around £10,” said Emma Bedford, associate publisher at Bauer Media. Coaching on own horses will cost extra.

Tradstands will be offered outdoors and indoors, the latter with a choice of clear floor space or shell scheme. Sponsorship packages are available.

Total Confidence is an existing franchise within Your Horse magazine.


CHRISTMAS SHOPPING ON THE UP

12th December, 2013.

With two weeks to go until Christmas, shopping activity is on track to exceed 2012.

Retail footfall from 24 November to 7 December was nearly 2% higher than the equivalent weeks last year, according to Ipsos’ Retail Traffic Index (RTI).

Shopper numbers have been building since mid-November and in the past week (w/c 1 December) they increased by a further 5.7%.

“The first fortnight of the month has been busier overall than last year, with people eager to complete much of their shopping early,” said retail expert Dr Tim Denison.

“Following a bonanza first week, when shoppers flew out of their blocks and into the stores, the acceleration over the second week has not been quite as strong, as some bargain hunters have been deflected online chasing down Black Friday offers.”

The strongest year-on-year growth in the month to date has been in the north of England where retail traffic is 11.3% up on the same fortnight last year.


DISTRIBUTOR’S SALES FORCE GROWS

12th December, 2013.

Upmarket European brands distributor Zebra Products has employed three new sales staff.

Pam Mildner, who joins from London publisher EMAP, will cover the south of England. She competes in eventing. Heidi Cheadle, formerly with Tredstep Ireland, is to represent Zebra Products in the north alongside Catherine Betts. Heidi has a young horse she plans to event and show jump.

Sarah Ford was with Lloyds Banking Group for six years. Describing herself as “horse mad,” Sarah will cover the south with Pam.

Phil Lowe, who’s been with the Zebra Products sales team for more than three years, remains solely responsible for Amerigo and Equipe saddle sales across the UK.


£2.4m VAT FRAUD ARRESTS LINKED TO HORSE RACING

11th December, 2013.

A man and woman from Essex and a man from Buckinghamshire were arrested yesterday (10 December) on suspicion of involvement in an estimated £2.4 million VAT fraud connected to the horse racing industry.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) criminal investigators made the arrests at residential addresses near Braintree in Essex and High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire.

Two business premises were also searched. Investigations continue.

The Essex Chronicle was reporting today that the Essex couple arrested are John Holmes, former owner of Great Leighs racecourse, and his partner Jill Turner.


DERBY HOUSE IN ADMINISTRATION

10th December, 2013.

Retailer Derby House Ltd has gone into administration and subsequently sold to Newtyle Trading Company Ltd.

The business continues to trade through the internet retail website www.derbyhouse.co.uk

Chris Newell of Quantuma LLP and Simon Bonney of Baker Tilly Business Services have been appointed as joint administrators.

Their spokesman said: “All customer orders previously placed with Derby House Limited will be honoured.”


SADDLER JOINS FORUM SPEAKERS

10th December, 2013.

Saddler Mark Fisher is among a line-up of eminent speakers at the 2014 National Equine Forum in London on 6 March.

Also addressing the annual event will be The Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Representatives from sporting bodies in Germany and Switzerland will discuss challenges faced in horse sport.

The chief executives of charities World Horse Welfare and Redwings, together with the proprietor of the UK’s largest abattoir, will debate welfare and the horse meat industry.

Legislation, the racing industry and equine passports are on the agenda too. While there’s more on saddlery and rider balance from Animal Health Trust vet Line Grieve who’s researching saddle slip.

The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) is represented on the forum’s organising committee. Its president is HRH The Princess Royal.


HOW A STRICTLY STAR BOOSTED SALES

9th December, 2013.

Gift specialist Your Gift Horse sold out of a scarf in under 24 hours thanks to Strictly Come Dancing contestant Susanna Reid’s liking for the equine themed accessory.

After the BBC Breakfast presenter inadvertently flashed her underwear on the TV sofa last week, the paparazzi was waiting for her to leave the studio.

And shots of her wearing the now infamous dress – plus Caballo scarf from Your Gift Horse – appeared across the national press.

“We’ve been rushed off our feet keeping up with orders,” said Your Gift Horse owner Sandra Jones. “The warehouse is open seven days a week and we’ve got temporary staff in to help.”

For a photo of Susanna in the scarf, see the January issue of ETN.


AUSTRALIAN ‘SADDLERY KING’ DIES IN CRASH

9th December, 2013.

Greg Grant – a leading equestrian businessman known as ‘the saddlery king of Australia’ – and his wife Patricia have died in a road accident.

The couple, aged 69 and 68 from Caloundra in Queensland, were on holiday in India.

They are understood to have been travelling in a taxi when the accident happened on Friday (6 December). Their daughter Amanda and her husband were in a separate vehicle.

Greg and Pat Grant built up their Saddlery Trading Company over more than 30 years to become one of Australia’s leading wholesalers.

The company stocks more than 15,000 product lines. Brands include Tekna, Alto-Lab , GG Australia, Sterling, Ambassador and Bambino Pony Gear.

Greg often visited Britain and Europe in the 1980s and 90s to attend major trade fairs. “He was always a gentleman and played with a straight bat,” said Phil Duff, a prominent figure in the trade.

The Grants also owned two Greg Grant Saddlery retail stores in Australia.

They leave a daughter Amanda, a son Barton, and three grandchildren.


SADDLERY ANNOUNCES REDUNDANCIES

5th December, 2013.

Seven employees have been made redundant from Barnsby.

Sales managers Alison Mason and Lisa Thoron, who respectively covered the north and south for the Walsall based saddlery, have been laid off.

Five of Barnsby’s factory and warehouse staff, of a total of 37, have also been made redundant.

Barnsby’s six saddle fitters, who are self-employed agents, have been asked to hand back their vans. It’s understood that two are no longer working with the company.

Managing director James Hitchin said Barnsby had been “having difficulties with the Inland Revenue.”

Barnsby, one of Britain’s oldest saddlery companies, was established around 220 years ago.


FREE COACH TRAVEL TO BETA INTERNATIONAL

5th December, 2013.

Free coach travel is on offer to BETA International visitors.

Return services, with on board refreshments and toilets, will operate from Norwich, Exeter and Carlisle on Sunday, 16 February.

There will be time-tabled pick-up points en route.

For details, visit www.beta-uk.org or contact operations manager Jackie Woolley, tel 01937 582111 email jackiew@beta-int.com


LONDON BIDS FOR FEI WORLD CUP FINALS

4th December, 2013.

London’s O2 Arena is one of four venues bidding to host the FEI World Cup jumping and dressage finals in 2017.

Omaha, Nebraska in the USA has also applied to stage both competitions.

Hong Kong has bid to host the jumping only and ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Holland, solely the dressage.

London’s O2 Arena was renamed the North Greenwich Arena for the Olympic and Paralympic events staged there during London 2012.


BBC APOLOGISES FOR HI-VIZ FAKE CLAIM

3rd December, 2013.

The BBC has today broadcast an apology to Equisafety over an episode of Fake Britain.

In a report upholding their findings also published today, the BBC Trustees said the item was “inaccurate, misleading and unfair towards Equisafety.”

The programme, broadcast in June 2012, showed a hi-viz waistcoat for riders being tested. Equisafety, the maker of the waistcoat, complained.

The Editorial Standards Committee (ESC) of the BBC Trust decided it was inaccurate to say that the waistcoat had failed to meet EU standards and so was fake.

The Trustees also concluded that Equisafety should have been given a right to reply to the concerns aired in the programme - and that viewers should have been told that an interviewee had links to a rival company.

Today’s broadcast concluded: “The BBC would like to apologise to Equisafety and to our audiences.”

The full finding can be viewed at http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/appeals/esc_bulletins/2013/oct.pdf


TAXMAN IN CHRISTMAS GIFT WARNING

2nd December, 2013.

Christmas shoppers looking for bargains overseas could get hit by unexpected charges, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has cautioned.

Buying goods abroad or online from non-EU countries can attract customs duty or import VAT.

“Shoppers must always be cautious with websites that say they will undervalue your goods so you won’t pay VAT or offer famous brand names at very low prices,” warned Angela Shephard, HMRC head of customs policy.

“HMRC knows about these sites and people may end up paying more or having goods seized when they think they have found a bargain.”

Find out more in the December issue of ETN.