In This Issue
Kelkay bought by US company for $56million
All hands to the pump at Gardman as backlog gets cleared
QD Group acquires The Barn Garden Centre in Peterborough
Major garden centre projects near completion
Squire's eyes investment opportunties after parting with Windsor centre
GTN's Greatest Christmas Award winners revealed
New deal sees Posh Sheds available to garden centre customers for the first time
Glee at Spring Fair receives positive response
Glee at Spring Fair's New Product Award winner revealed
Klondyke Group holds Furniture and Outdoor Living Showcase
Wyevale Garden Centres celebrates £1.7m fundraising success for Marie Curie
Horticulture and agriculture students’ study trip to Spain
Get your own copy of GTN Xtra
Glee welcomes new team member to boost UK coverage
Buyers from Denmark, Finland, Latvia and the Netherlands seek new products at Gardenex event
Garden Living: the new consumer website from LOFA
New Burgon & Ball 'Buzz and Dotty' Kneelo kneelers for kids
Plant-athons planned at Klondyke garden centres on Garden Re-Leaf Day
Wildlife World celebrates 20 years in business
GROEN-Direkt’s 2018 Spring Fair: this was the news
Looking for Christmas Ideas for 2018?
The best of last week's
Bunnings owner could exit the UK by June, says newspaper report
Gardman acknowledges teething problems at new distribution centre...but says they're now fixed
Good growth reported for Blue Diamond Group
Top trends for 2018 are inspired by nature
Bestsellers Top 50 charts every week
Buy your subscription to GTN Bestsellers
All the latest news from the world of garden centre catering
GCA launches new Rising Star programme for catering staff
Custom Counters consultancy service from Fri-Jado UK
Afternoon tea award recognition for Haskins Ferndown
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Good growth reported for Blue Diamond Group

The Blue Diamond Group has traded well again and delivered good growth in 2017, although the sales increase over the full year has been lower than in previous years and the first half of 2017, according to figures published in a shareholder announcement.

Total sales rose by 6% with like for like sales growth, excluding Harlow and Coton Orchard, of 3%. Total sales in the UK increased by 7% with like for like sales growth of 4%. Total and like for like sales increased by 2% in the Channel Islands.

After a very strong first half of 2017, the second half of the year was more challenging. Sales were flat and customer numbers softened in the second half as the Group experienced the consumer slowdown reported by the likes of the British Retail Consortium, the ONS and many other retailers.

Nonetheless, during the year the Group outperformed the benchmark provided by the industry trade body the Garden Centre Association, both overall and in every key category except Christmas. We did not experience the significant trading problems evident in our major competitors.  Average spend increased and margins were higher than 2016 across the year.  Our gearing fell below 20% by the end of 2017.

We continued to improve our existing estate, with the redevelopments of St. Peters and Coton Orchard complete, as well as the first phase of Grosvenor. All these sites have seen good growth in 2017.

The redevelopments of Fermoys and Newbridge are now scheduled to start in the second half of 2018. We are progressing the planning applications for the redevelopments of Harlow and Fryers.

The fit-out of Bridgford started in November 2017 and we are on track to open in late March 2018. We are very excited about this new centre, which is targeted to deliver £10m of sales upon maturity and to be recognised as the finest, most innovative garden centre in the UK.

Chairman Simon Burke commented, "The second half of the year reflected tougher general conditions in the retail market, but we are pleased to report a good improvement in the performance for the year overall. The UK economy is decelerating as a result of Brexit uncertainty and real wages are falling, which are both having an adverse effect on the consumer and therefore the retail sector. Whilst we are well positioned to manage this, we are not immune and we are now expecting more modest underlying profit growth for the next couple of years. Nevertheless, we are continuing to progress our pipeline of new build opportunities and the progressive redevelopment of our existing portfolio, which should deliver strong returns in the medium to long term."

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