For the 26 weeks to 3 March 2018, Carr’s revenue was £200.1m, up 13.2% year-on-year (H1 2017: £176.8m) while adjusted profit before tax increased by 22.0% to £10.9m (H1 2017: £9.0m).
Its UK agriculture division reported an adjusted operating profit of £7.8m (H1 2017: £7.3m), up 6.3% and “ahead of the Board’s expectations for the half year”.
Carr’s UK retail business saw sales up 15.7% year-on-year, with like-for-like sales up 3.5%. In October 2017, it acquired Pearson Farm Supplies with a view to integrating it into its existing retail business to create a 43-store footprint.
Tim Davies, Carr’s chief executive officer, said: “We are very pleased with the performance of the group during the first half of the year, which slightly exceeded the board’s expectations for the period.
“This strong performance demonstrates the excellent recovery made in our engineering division and builds upon the strategic progress made during the last year.”
Davies said there was more information regarding support for UK farmers, which was sorely needed in the run-up to Great Britain leaving the European Union.
“In UK agriculture, we now have greater visibility on the impact Brexit may have in relation to direct payments to farmers in the near term, although uncertainty remains on the issue of trade agreements both within the EU and the rest of the world.
“The clarity relating to direct support, together with improving farm incomes, means we are starting to see renewed confidence in the outlook for the industry. Our engineering business is recovering well and we have strengthened management to drive further growth.”
He added that this strong first half of the year has set the business up for a positive full year.
“Trading in the second half has started well and the board now anticipates that trading for the full year will be slightly ahead of its previous expectations.
“We are confident that our breadth of product offering, investments in acquisitions and research, and our international footprint leaves us well positioned for further growth across both our divisions in the medium term.”