27th March, 2018.

Equestrian sales agent to tackle next month’s London Marathon in memory of a late friend and colleague.

Jenny Hammett – the UK sales agent for Schockemöhle Sports, Prestige Italia and Kask - has a special reason to complete the London Marathon on 22 April.

She aims to raise money for The Brain Research Trust in memory of her late friend and colleague Paul Dickson.

Paul’s parents Brian and Polly Dickson founded Derby House Saddlery. After the business was sold, Paul moved to Ireland to run TRI Equestrian. He died in July 2016 from a brain tumour.

“It was Paul who encouraged me to start running,” said Jenny. “Even though he could complete a half marathon in 1 hour 30 minutes with his eyes shut, he always listened and offered his advice and support to me.”

When Paul was diagnosed with cancer, Jenny promised Paul that once he was better, they would complete a half marathon together.

“Sadly this day never arrived,” said Jenny. “So instead of us both running a half marathon together, I’m going to run a full marathon of 26.2 miles for us both.”

You can support Jenny and donate to The Brain Research Trust at



27th March, 2018.

Retailers are missing out unless they harness the selling power of a new Instagram shopping feature.

It’s aimed at driving traffic to e-commerce platforms, yet has been ignored by more than 80% of retailers in its first week, according to retail technology firm Cybertill.

Instagram rolled out its new Shopping feature to business accounts in the UK - as well as Germany France, Italy Brazil, Canada, Spain and Australia – on 20 March.

But just 8% of UK brands have made use of the photo tags which persuade followers to buy the Instagrammed-goods online.

The feature allows users to tap tags and see prices, then link through to the retailer's website, with the help of a ‘Shop Now’ button. Previously, users would have been directed to a 'Link in bio' - disrupting the user journey.

Big brands making use of Instagram Shopping include New Look, Screwfix, Miss Selfridge and River Island. While ASOS, ASDA, Tesco, Argos and Next have yet to enable the feature, says Cybertill.

Of the retailers that don't have the Instagram Shopping feature enabled, 7% encourage the consumer to go in-store, 19% encourage consumers to click the link in the retailer's Instagram bio and 19% encourage the consumer to search for product code on the website. The rest don’t actively promote ‘buy’ calls to action from Instagram.

“Retailers shouldn’t be precious about selling channels,” says Ian Tomlinson, CEO of Cybertill. “Smart retailers move quickly to offer consumers what they want, when they want it.

“Experiential retailing is essential to winning over hearts and minds of consumers. Instagram is about as experiential as e-commerce can get.

“Instagram has always been a very good platform for selling, without the tools to do so effectively. That’s all changed now and retailers need to get with the program, or else be left behind.”


27th March, 2018.

Job losses announced as deadline looms for going concern offers for the troubled rural retail chain.

Potential purchasers of 48 Countrywide stores have until 5pm tomorrow (Wednesday 28 March) to show their hands.

KPMG were appointed to manage the retail chain when it went into administration on 7 March.

Eighteen freehold and 30 leasehold stores are available as a going concern. Parts and packages of the business are offered.

“You can buy freeholds and I would expect a lease premium to be paid for the assignment of leaseholds,” Gareth Shaw of KPMG told ETN.

He added that it was hoped to sell the stock with the stores. “Otherwise it will be traded [sold] by agents Hilco Capital [appointed by KPMG to assist in running the stores].”

Going concern buyers will be expected to sign NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), said Mr Shaw.

Last week joint administrators from KPMG’s restructuring practice announced 20 redundancies at Countrywide’s Evesham headquarters and 12 at its distribution site in Defford.

“Our strategy remains to continue to trade to realise stock, whilst we develop and convert interest in parts of the business and packages of stores,” said David Pike, partner at KPMG.

“To maximise the available trading period, we have taken steps to reduce costs and regrettably, we are unable to retain the workforce in full. We remain focused on doing all we can to preserve as many jobs as possible.”

• Anyone interested in buying some or all of the stores should contact Gareth Shaw email Gareth.Shaw@KPMG.co.uk tel 07740 894721. For property interest and landlord queries, contact Graham Peat or Adam Heath email info@phdproperty.co.uk All other queries to countrywidefarmers@kpmg.co.uk


26th March, 2018.

The glossy lifestyle bi-monthly has been closed.

Horse & Countryside magazine is no longer being published.

ETN understands that the lifestyle title’s April/May issue was not printed as planned when a takeover by another publisher fell through last week.

Horse & Countryside was most recently produced by Huddersfield based Impact Digital Press. It was previously published by HIT Media, also located in Huddersfield and which went into liquidation in November 2017.

Sara Walker, who edited the title for four years, said she plans to continue running her freelance copywriting agency.

Horse & Countryside was developed by another former owner Mai Publications from Ireland’s Equestrian. At its peak, the title claimed 20,000 copies were distributed across the UK and Ireland.

The magazine exhibited at BETA International on several occasions including in January this year.

Impact Digital Press did not respond to ETN’s calls and emails.


19th March, 2018.

The trade will be represented when new body lobbies government.

Two existing equine organisations have combined to form the British Horse Council (BHC)

The new body’s remit is to speak for the horse world to government departments and devolved authorities with a strong, united voice.

The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) represents the trade with a seat on the BHC board.

The BHC came about when the British Horse Industry Confederation and the Equine Sector Council (for Health and Welfare) joined forces.

The two organisations have been working together on issues such as the horsemeat scandal, horse passports and rates for equestrian businesses. The move to formalise and unite is seen as a practical step.

Describing the merger as “a positive move”, BETA’s executive director Claire Williams added: “We, as BETA, are pleased to have a seat at the table to ensure that the important and significant voice of the trade is represented in top line discussions.”

Its founders say the BHC will be open and inclusive with a mailing list for all equestrian related organisations to join the conversation and regular group meetings.

The new body faces many challenges and opportunities, including the implications of Brexit for the horse world.

“Where there is common ground, [bodies representing] racing, breeding, sport, leisure, trade, health, education, research, enforcement and welfare can present a strong and unified view,” said a BHC statement.


19th March, 2018.

Three generations recognised with regional business accolade

Trilanco has won the Family Business Award 2018 at the Red Rose Awards.

The wholesaler was nominated for awards in two categories during the celebration of Lancashire’s leading businesses at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens earlier this month (8 March).

“Winning means a lot to us as a business and as a family with three generations of Balmers working for the company,” said managing director Martin Balmer.

Martin’s father Derek Balmer started trading as an agricultural products wholesaler in 1979.

“As demand for equine and pet products increased over the years, the company evolved and we’re still growing today,” added Martin whose wife Lisa Balmer and their daughter Jessica Balmer now also work for Trilanco.

The awards’ judges commented: “This is a family business that invests and empowers. They are innovative and nimble and maximise opportunities when they see them. Trilanco has a growing international reach and the ambition to produce continued growth.”


19th March, 2018.

Animal health company hosts new network for qualified advisors.

Virbac has launched a new Facebook forum for Equine-SQPs (E-SQPs).

The closed group is for qualified animal medicines advisors to share knowledge, news, views and events with colleagues, says the manufacturer of Equimax and Eraquell horse wormers.

ETN runs regular features and quizzes which are accredited by the regulatory authority AMTRA and which help SQPs earn the CPD points they need to maintain their qualification. The next one, a nutrition module, appears in ETN April issue and online at www.equestriantradenews.com

E-SQPs can join the new forum here www.facebook.com/groups/163304407735303/?source_id=661832097339535 SQP numbers are required.


19th March, 2018.

As consumers make the most of new returns regulations, a guide is introduced spelling out traders’ rights.

Shoppers are now keenly aware of their right to return unwanted items bought online, under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 14-day cooling off period.

And half of all consumers now expect the same free returns that apply to damaged items to be given on unwanted items – or they will shop elsewhere, according to retail experts.

But is this fair? Having seen consumers “being led a merry dance over returned items by grudging retailers,” David Jinks of courier price comparison site ParcelHero thinks things seem to be swinging too far the other way.

“It’s all very well for the likes of Amazon to swallow return costs; but they can literally make or break small traders,” he says.

“Whether they’re selling online, or via a traditional bricks and mortar shop, it’s important for small retailers to know what they do and don’t have to offer when it comes to accepting returned goods.

“The final nail in the coffin for small online retailers,” adds Mr Jinks, “may be that 8% of shoppers now admit to returning items several times a month. And customers pushing the boundaries of the latest regulations mean it’s difficult for retailers to prevent ‘wardrobing’ - using an item once for a specific purpose and then returning it.”

The new Dealing with Customers Returns guide explains differences between the Consumer Contracts Regulations and the Consumer Rights Act.

It also advises sellers what to do if items are returned in less than perfect condition; explains the rules over personalised or customised items being returned; and looks at whether a voucher can replace a full refund?

The guide is available free to download at: https://www.parcelhero.com/blog/marketplace/business-guide-handling-returns


13th March, 2018.

Revisions to Horse of the Year Show’s (HOYS) trade stand area are announced ahead of the show’s 70th anniversary.

A number of changes are to be introduced to HOYS’ shopping area.

Following last year’s show, traders told ETN they’d experienced poor footfall in some parts of the show’s retail village.

Now HOYS organisers have announced a redesign “in order to improve the flow of traffic through the hall and to create an easy to navigate floorplan.”

The revised layout has also created extra space, said a HOYS spokesman, in addition to that freed up by “restricting some of the non-equestrian stands.”

Other changes to the retail village for HOYS 2018 include a large screen with live feed from the main arena, background music and new storage solutions for traders to rent.

The shell scheme rate has been held at 2017 costs for trade stand holders who are exhibiting at this year’s show.

And in a bid to turn spectators into shoppers, every admission ticket will provide access to the retail village.

The 70th running of HOYS is at Birmingham’s NEC Genting Arena from 3 to 7 October. The show started out in Harringay in 1949, later moving to Wembley Arena in 1959 and then to Birmingham 16 years ago.


12th March, 2018.

This front runner is clocking up the training miles ahead of next month’s London Marathon - and needs your support…

Competitors in the London Marathon (on 22 April) will include Stephen Dawson, the secretary general of AMTRA – the body that oversees training and regulation of SQPs (animal health advisors).

This will be Stephen’s first tilt at the gruelling 26 miles and 385 yards, although he has been running a half-marathon each month since gaining his London Marathon place a year ago.

“Increasing from 13 to 26 miles is feeling quite a challenge,” he told ETN, “as is fitting in 40 miles of training each week.”

Stephen is running to raise money for Guide Dogs for the Blind. The charity is best known for its world-famous guide dogs, but it also helps people with sight loss tackle obstacles they face every day.

“It’s commitment to this worthwhile cause that’s helping me get out of the door for those early morning runs,” added Stephen.

You can support Stephen by donating at virginmoneygiving.com/StephenD


9th March, 2018.

Dr Pearse Lyons was a pioneer in animal nutrition.

Alltech founder and president Dr Pearse Lyons died today (8 March).

Dr Lyons passed away due to an acute lung condition that developed during his recovery from heart surgery. He was 73.

Irish born Dr Lyons set up Alltech in Kentucky, US in 1980 using his knowledge of fermentation acquired via experience in the brewing business. Today the company is a global brand employing around 5,000 people.

“Dr Lyons was a visionary entrepreneur who transformed the agriculture industry beginning with his innovative application of yeast technology in animal nutrition,” said Alric Blake, CEO and treasurer of Alltech.

“From farm to field, from market to family dinner table, our world is immeasurably better because he was a man who never saw problems, only a challenge that had not yet been solved.”

Dr Lyons leaves his wife Deirdre (Alltech director of corporate image and design ), daughter Aoife, son Mark (Alltech chairman and president) and Mark’s wife Holly.

The family has asked that any expressions of sympathy, including memories and tributes, be shared at alltech.com/pearselyons

Donations, in lieu of flowers, should go to the charitable Alltech ACE Foundation.

Funeral masses will be in Lexington, Kentucky on March 17 and in Dublin, Ireland, in April.


8th March, 2018.

The retail chain which trades from 48 stores and employs more than 700 people admits it’s facing “a very uncertain future.”

Countrywide Farmers went into administration yesterday (7 March).

Appointing KMPG to administer the company, the Countrywide board cited a “weakening retail performance” and tightening of supplier credit lines.

Last April, Countrywide announced its intention to sell its retail business. It also closed around 14 loss-making stores.

By October 2017, a sale of the Countrywide retail business to Mole Valley Farmers had been agreed - subject to review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Meanwhile, the board decided to sell its Countrywide LPG business. DCC Flogas’ acquisition was completed on 1 March for £28.75m, proceeds being used to pay down Countrywide’s borrowing from HSBC.

But Countrywide’s retail arm could not be saved when the CMA failed to approve its sale to Mole Valley, instead referring it for a further review which could take up to six months.

Yesterday, the Countrywide board said it was unable to meet its financial obligations for this extended time – and therefore had appointed David Pike, Mark Orton and William Wright, partners of KPMG LLP, to act as administrators.

“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,” said the board in a statement.

It’s thought that the administrators will attempt to find a buyer for the retail chain.


5th March, 2018.

Exhibitors have raced to book places and claim discounts for next January’s show at the NEC, Birmingham.

Equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet product companies have been quick off the mark to book a place at BETA International 2019, with 80% of stand space now taken.

All those that beat the early commitment discount scheme’s deposit deadline last Friday (2 March) are now in line for significant savings, and a place at the front of the queue when stand allocation begins later in the year.

“This high level of exhibitor take-up is a huge endorsement of the show and the confidence that the industry has in it as a global platform for business and buying,” said BETA International sales manager James Palmer.

“With four-fifths of all commercial space in the halls taken – more than at this same time last year – we are moving ahead in an extremely strong position.

”We look forward to welcoming many of our core equestrian exhibitors back once again and have received increased interest from companies in the country clothing sector, which is great to see.”

Businesses included in the early-commitment discount scheme can benefit from savings of 7.5% net on the cost of stand space (terms and conditions apply) when they also sign up to the show's prompt-payment plan. To qualify, they must book space by 2 March, then pay a deposit by 21 September and the balance in full by 9 November. All discounts are made in the form of a rebate payment in March 2019.

BETA International is the world's leading trade fair for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products. The 2019 show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 20 to 22 January.

For further information on exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111, email jamesp@beta-int.com or visit www.beta-int.com


5th March, 2018.

As consumers increasingly shop from their smartphones, retailers must adopt new tactics to stay ahead.

Sales at the UK’s 20 biggest online-only retailers have jumped by almost a quarter (23%) in the last year, hitting £8.4 billion in 2016/17 - up from £6.8 billion the previous year.

The hike is largely thanks to the rise of mobile commerce, as shoppers embrace ‘anywhere, anytime’ shopping via their smartphones, according to new research by professional services firm RPC.

Recent e-retail developments driving growth include:

• AI-driven ‘chat bots’ on mobile e-retail platforms which engage shoppers in conversation to advise and suggest purchases.
• Augmented Reality functionality in e-retail apps, allowing shoppers to see exactly how a purchase will look in their home.
• Use of spoken keywords for AI-enabled smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo – US consumers can already order from Walmart through smart speakers.
• ‘Snap and shop’, which allows shoppers to search for purchases using their smartphone cameras – this can be done through social media platforms like Pinterest.

Online retailers are also sharpening their competitive edge by investing in automation in their warehousing and logistics as competition on choice, price and customer convenience intensifies.

Recently online grocer Ocado announced it is to invest £150m in warehouse robotics.


5th March, 2018.

Horse owners urged “to shout loud and proud about how they are doing the best for their horses.”

Horse Health Week returns today as part of MSD Animal Health’s Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy (KBHH) campaign.

The week-long event (5 – 9 March) focuses on encouraging horse owners and vets to advocate preventive healthcare measures.

Vicki Farr, MSD Animal Health’s equine veterinary adviser says: “Being proactive and working with your vet on steps to protect your horse against illness is the best way to keep them healthy and happy.

“Horse Health Week is a chance for horse owners to shout loud and proud about how they are ‘doing the best for my horse’.”

There’s a range of resources available on the KBHH website (www.healthyhorses.co.uk) and social media channels, including ‘yard card’ checklists, animations demonstrating the benefits of a proactive approach to healthcare, and horse health booklets.

A social media competition invites owners to upload photos of themselves ‘doing the best for my horse’.

“The photo is open to owners’ interpretation and can be anything from worming to vaccinating or simply checking their horse’s teeth,” added Ms Farr.


5th March, 2018.

British equestrian exporters – including those heading for the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in America this autumn – stand to benefit.

The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) has secured almost £100,000 in funding from the Department for International Trade to support its programme of trade missions over the next 13 months.

Grants from £1,500 to £2,500 per company are available to those wishing to attend Spoga Horse Autumn (Cologne, Germany, 2-4 September), the World Equestrian Games (North Carolina, United States, 10-23 September), the China Horse Fair (Beijing, 17-19 October), Equitana Melbourne (Australia, 15-18 November), Equitana Equestrian Sports World Fair (Essen, Germany, 9-19 March 2019) and the Dubai International Horse Fair (United Arab Emirates, March 2019).

“Our trade missions are a fantastic way for companies – both BETA members and non-members – to explore new markets and develop their export potential,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “By exhibiting as part of a BETA group, they are able to benefit from our vast experience of international shows, logistical support and advice.”

For a small fee. BETA is able to display products, literature and promotional material at certain shows for companies that are unable to attend but wish to secure a presence.

For further information on taking part in one of these BETA-led trade missions, contact Tina Hustler in the BETA office, telephone 01937 587062 or email tinah@beta-int.com


5th March, 2018.

2018 has seen this rising star pass the R-SQP exam and gain promotion – and it’s still only the beginning of March!

Sophie Richardson, who joined Trilanco almost two years ago, has qualified as an animal health expert.

Having passed her R-SQP exam, Sophie can now advise customers on medicines for farm animals, equine and companion animals.

A member of the wholesaler’s sales and customer services team, Sophie stepped into the role of outbound team leader in January.

“I decided to study to further my animal health knowledge so I can help more of our customers,” she said. “It also gave me the opportunity to progress at work.”

Describing Sophie’s R-SQP as a “fantastic achievement”, Trilanco’s managing director Martin Balmer added: “It takes a lot of hard work and commitment to gain this qualification.

“Having eight SQPs in the business, including Sophie, helps us to support our customers with quality advice alongside a range of quality products. Prescribing animal health products is an important part of our business and we invest in staff training so that we can advise our customers on the appropriate treatments for animals and their environments.”

• ETN runs regular CPD features and quizzes to help SQPs like Sophie to maintain their qualification. The most recent one appears in March issue.