EQUESTRIAN retailer Ride-Away has been bought by Pets At Home.

The £6.7 million-turnover family business, which was started in 1980 by Stephen and Angela Clark, has a 15,000 sqft store in Sutton-on-the-Forest and an online and catalogue business, employing more than 40 people.

Nick Wood, chief executive of Pets At Home, said Ride-Away’s strong brand and loyal customer base in the fragmented £2.8 billion equestrian market would expand Pets At Home’s specialist credentials.

Mr and Mrs Clark said: “Having decided to sell our family business it was important to us that we found a buyer who shares the values that have underpinned the growth of Ride-Away to date. “Given the experience and resources that Nick and his team have at their disposal we believe they can successfully build on the very strong foundation we are proud to have built over the last 32 years.”

“The acquisition of Ride-Away is a really exciting opportunity for Pets At Home where our equestrian offer is very limited at present. Stephen and Angela Clark have built Ride-Away into a significant multi-channel operation, specialising in the equestrian market. By deploying our wealth of experience and resources to support an accelerated growth plan we look forward to developing the business further over the coming years.

“The success of Pets At Home is built on a foundation of friendly expertise delivered by outstanding colleagues, authoritative ranges, product innovation and great service. We believe in Ride-Away we have bought a business that shares these attributes.”

Rod Wilkinson, corporate finance associate partner at KPMG, who advised Ride-Away on the deal, said: “In the run up to Christmas there has been a lot said about the importance to retailers of having a robust multi-channel operation to drive sales performance. This deal highlights how key this can be for a retailer in the M&A market also.”

Katherine Hay-Heddle, corporate finance partner at Ward Haddaway who provided legal advice, said: “Its acquisition by a company with the size and reach of Pets At Home is a testament to how well Ride-Away has been run and how successful it has been.”