- Wynnstay said, as expected, trading activity in the first four months of the new financial year has been subdued, reflecting the downturn across the agricultural sector but is broadly in line with management expectations.

There are important trading months ahead and Wynnstay's broad spread of activities continues to provide resilience against current headwinds.

"In the Agricultural Division, demand for dairy feed was reduced over the mild winter period however poultry, beef and sheep feed sales remain buoyant, in line with previous years," Wynnstay said in a statement.

"Demand for arable products has gained momentum over recent weeks after a slow start and is up to the levels of the prior period, with Wynnstay also well placed for the anticipated spot trade. Grain trading volumes have increased over the equivalent period last year although, as expected, margins remain under pressure.

"The Glasson business continues to make a good contribution to the Group although is not budgeted to repeat last year's strong performance.

"Within the Specialist Retail Division, trading at Wynnstay Stores has improved after a slower start and an active trading period is anticipated as livestock are turned out in the spring. The integration of Agricentre, acquired at the end of October, is progressing well.

"Like-for-like sales at Just for Pets, the pet supplies chain, were slightly behind the prior year but the roll-out programme is progressing well, with new Just for Pets sites identified.

"Wynnstay remains well placed to capitalise on opportunities in the sector and the Group continues to view prospects over the longer term positively as agricultural output prices return to more realistic levels."

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