Profit up 52.5% at Notcutts in year to February 2019
Notcutts has recorded strong profit growth in the year ending February 2019 with operating profit up 52.5% to £1.5m. Gross margin improved by 0.6% points to 47.5% and stock turn improved from 3.4 to 3.9 during the year.
Sales were level at £74.7m in a year when four garden centres had normal trading patterns disrupted over extended periods by redevelopment and improvement projects.
Capital expenditure was £10.5m. Restaurant redevelopments were completed at Woodford Park and Dukeries (Worksop) garden centres. Full centre redevelopments, covering both retail environments and restaurants, were completed at Booker (pictured above)and Rivendell (Widnes) Garden Centres. In each of these schemes Notcutts’ iconic show gardens were included as part of the developments. A new website and e-commerce platform was completed and launched in the year and Notcutts new brand rollout was completed across all 18 garden centres.
Commenting on these results, Chief Executive Nick Burrows said: “We are pleased with our progress during a year in which we were able to deliver good growth in operating profit. A focus on margin and a successful cost efficiency programme helped underpin this achievement. This during a year when we completed our new brand rollout and launched a new website and online store.”
Garden and restaurant terrace at Notcutts Woodford Park Garden Centre.
Burrows was especially pleased to have completed sizeable refurbishment projects which form part of the Notcutts five year strategic plan to reposition and upgrade their garden centre estate. He said: “With the completion of major projects at Rivendell, Woodford Park and Booker we are now some two thirds of the way through our planned programme of improvements. Our attention now turns to further projects at our Garden Pride (Ditchling), Woodbridge and St Albans Garden Centres which will be completed in 2019/20.”
Chairman Nicky Dulieu emphasised the importance of continuing to redevelop remaining garden centres in the portfolio. She said: “We have now secured planning permission for further upgrade projects at our Solihull and Tunbridge Wells Garden Centres. With both of these developments we will be improving and extending our restaurants which are now so important to the overall Notcutts customer experience.” Dulieu, with all members of the Notcutts Board, has also championed the company’s developing e-commerce and digital capability, which is seen as a key component for the company in attracting the emerging millennial customer to gardening.
Notcutts introduced further show gardens in the year and now have these in 14 of their 18 garden centres. Caroline Notcutt, Vice Chairman, has hosted events for customers, partners and local communities as each show garden has been unveiled. “Our show gardens are attracting customers in great numbers,” she commented. “They are an important part of the Notcutts brand and customer proposition now and really showcase Notcutts’ horticultural credentials which extend back over 120 years. We have designed them to inspire customers with ideas for plant combinations and garden layouts. They are true wellbeing spaces and are becoming a real focal point for our customers as well as a sense of great pride for our garden centre colleagues who look after them throughout the year.”
Restaurant at Notcutts Rivendell Garden Centre in Widnes.