Wyevale Garden Centres has today announced the sale of a portfolio of five garden centres to Dobbies Garden Centres.
The centres are: Gloucester; Heighley Gate; Huntingdon; Woodbridge and Woodlands.
Roger Mclaughlan, Chief Executive of WGC, said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of five of our largest centres to Dobbies, one of the UK’s biggest and most experienced garden centre operators. We would like to thank our great colleagues at these centres, who have been central to our turnaround in the past few years and wish them well for the next stage of their growth and development under Dobbies’ ownership.”
Graeme Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of Dobbies Garden Centres, said: “The acquisition of these five centres is in line with our strategic growth plan for Dobbies. We are looking forward to welcoming our new team members and to working with them to develop the centres over the years to come.”
The acquisition brings more than 400 team members to Dobbies and takes the garden centre retailer’s estate to 39 centres across the UK.
The five centres are all larger destination garden centres, similar in size to the nine centres sold to Blue Diamond in July. WGC has received a significant number of offers for all or part of the remaining WGC business from national, regional and financial operators as well as local entrepreneurs.
The sale is expected to complete in late October with the centres reopening as Dobbies soon after.
Anthony Jones, Chief Financial Officer of WGC, said: “Since the launch of the sale process in May we have already sold 23 centres and are currently evaluating a wide range of competitive offers from group buyers, regional operators and local entrepreneurs. We look forward to further positive discussions with all potential buyers.”
Darren Bond, Managing Director of Christie & Co, said: “Since the start of the WGC sale process, the opportunity to run one, a small group or a portfolio of garden centres has ignited interest within the sector and beyond. We are delighted to have supported the sale of these five centres to Dobbies, meaning we have now exchanged on 28 sites as part of the sale process.”
After a tumultuous year Gardman is up for sale.
"On reflection the directors have decided the best way forward for Gardman is to sell the business and secure more funding," CEO Pete Utting told GTN Xtra on Friday.
"PWC have been appointed to run a process that will conclude within 2 weeks and I have already had discussions with a number of very interested parties."
2018 started for Gardman with their move to Daventry for warehousing and distribution which was problematical, then in March a fire completely wiped out the warehouse and over £20m stock.
Rutland Partners completed a management buy out of the business led by Chairman Jonathan Halford in June 2015.
Below is the statement issued by Gardman on Friday:
Trade Press Release – 5th October 2018
In March 2018 Gardman suffered a devastating fire at its new Daventry warehouse.
With financial support from insurers, lending banks and shareholders, the business has made considerable progress over the last six month in rebuilding its market position. However, as a consequence of the fire, the business has been placed under significant financial and operational pressure.
The Directors have now decided to seek a new owner for the business to support the long term strategy and ambitions, and are in the process of liaising with potential buyers.
The directors see this as a positive step for the business and hope to conclude the process in the next two weeks.
We would also like to express our gratitude for all the support we have received during this recovery period.
Daro are hosting their annual Preview Show of the 2019 Indoor, Outdoor and Laura Ashley rattan collections at its Head office showroom in Northampton, throughout the whole of October.
Current stockists and potential new stockists are invited to discover the latest developments in Indoor rattan furniture with trends to more modern designs and fabrics.
Daro also have an extensive range of outdoor furniture available from stock with UK made cushioning available from a hybrid choice of outdoor performance fabrics or indoor fabrics.
The main Daro outdoor collection is made from high-quality polyethylene weave, skilfully woven by our teams in Indonesia offering a comfortable, versatile and long-lasting product.
The unique ability to offer customers a choice of fabric, means that consumers can create their own look with fabric choice and piping made-to-order.
In addition to our stocked ranges, the Daro Tailored-for-Outdoor programme allows retailers the opportunity to bespoke their own range portfolio and delivery timescales without the need to invest in cash flow compromising containers.
The Fresco collection also gives the option of a ready to go product with a limited choice of weaves and fabrics of which come complete with weather covers.
The 2019 collection considers the changing home with ranges developed to suit modern living. The conservatory or extension is now used as part of the everyday home with advances in glass technology. The new collection reflects this, with comfortable frames and stylish upholstery fabrics for today’s styles.
All cushions are made at Daro’s own soft furnishings division giving a fantastic choice of over 75 fabrics for consumers to choose from.
Daro are also proud to offer the extended Laura Ashley Indoor and outdoor ranges which are sold through Daro retailers utilising fabrics and inspiration from this iconic British brand.
Visit www.daro-cane.co.uk for further information or please contact Daro on 01604 758989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how to book an appointment.
Travel and accommodation costs are supported for all Trade visitors.
September sales just above average
Whilst garden centre total volume sales for September 2018 were 2% down on 2017, they were 2% up on the average for September over the previous seven years...
Whilst garden centre total volume sales for September 2018 were 2% down on 2017, they were 2% up on the average for September over the previous seven years.
So, we didn’t quite get the Indian Summer peak we were hoping for but at only 2.8% down in total year on year a good run through to Christmas could still see total sales volumes reach parity on last year.
Next week we will publish our first Top 50 Christmas Products chart. From the early sales data this week here are the instant Christmas Bestsellers as Christmas displays open:
- History & Heraldry Angel Hanging Decoration
- Suki Personalised Angel Ornament
- Suki Personalised Snowman/Snowgirl Ornament
- History & Heraldry Personalised Gift Box
- Armitages Dog Advent Calendar
GTN Bestsellers Top 50 sales volumes compared to the same week last year: week 39
- Garden Products Top 50 – up 12%
- Growing Media Top 50 – up 26%
- Veg 2 Gro Top 50 – up 19%
- Wild Bird Care Products Top 50 – up 8%
- All Plants index – up 12%
- All Items index – up 1%
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email email@example.com
Customers reported TRIPLE DIGIT value growth in their weedkiller sales after introducing the Job done® range into their garden centre!
One of our many success stories after launching Job done®: A ‘Grade A’ garden centre customer saw an increase of +244% after listing Job done® and implementing our branded point of sales assets.
Simon Whitehead, from Hall’s Garden Centres fed back: “It really is excellent to see the innovation pipe line open back up with SBM in a challenging environment”.
To continue this unprecedented growth there will be a media and in store point of sales investment of over £1m for 2019. Job done® will once again be taking to the airwaves; reaching 5 million listeners on talkSport, the world's biggest sports radio station, while we will continue to support our customers with branded point of sales assets, assuring growth of the weeds category.
The Bransford Webbs Plant Company has this week announced a change in the ownership of the company in order to ensure the security of the business for the future.
Will Tooby, the current chairman, whose father established the business, has been keen to secure the future of the company, whilst retaining an interest in a nursery he cares deeply about. By reducing his shareholding, he has taken a partial step away from the business, but remains Chairman of the Board of Directors. The shares have been taken up by a combination of Webbs Garden Centre, Adrian Marskell (Managing Director), Richard Colbourne (Financial Director) and Christine Chalmers (Production Director).
The Bransford Webbs Plant Company, established over 50 years ago, under the original name of Bransford Nurseries. Renamed Bransford Garden Plants in the early 1990s to better reflect the nature of the business, it became renowned across the industry for its new and innovative plants, ideas and promotions. Following a merger with Webbs Nurseries in 2005, The Bransford Webbs Plant Company has continued to go from strength to strength. A leading nursery in the UK, it supplies over 1.5 million plants to garden centres across the UK. The growing space currently covers over 9 hectares, consisting of glasshouses, polytunnels and outdoors beds.
“Through this positive move, Will is ensuring that there is a seamless change in the overall ownership of the company, and that a team he trusts continues to run and expand the business into the future, with confidence, whilst retaining all the values that are so important to him”, commented Adrian Marskell, Managing Director. “So although there has been a change, the message is very strongly, no change, business as usual”.
Pictured: the Board of Directors - from left to right: Ed Webb (Webbs Garden Centre), Christine Chalmers (Production Director), Richard Colbourne (Financial Director), Adrian Marskell (Managing Director), Will Tooby (Chairman).
Squire’s Garden Centres’ Matt Tanner and Klondyke Group’s Jayne Scott who were sponsored by the Garden Centre Association Trust to attend the International Garden Centre Association Congress are back from their trip.
The young duo were picked for the Trust’s Dick Allen Scholarship Award Scheme and joined 200 delegates at the 60th annual event, held for the first time in the Czech Republic.
Matt, who is the Manager of Squires at Chertsey and is a previous GCA Rising Stars candidate, said: “The whole trip from start to finish was a fantastic week. The standards of merchandising of houseplants in the Czech Republic has certainly made me re-think what we are currently doing in store and made me review the houseplant area. The use of houseplants in gift departments and in the cafés was definitely something I would like to implement.
“I was made to feel welcome by all the delegates and the amount of knowledge that is shared informally on the coach trips between venues is priceless. I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of attending the congress and will certainly be recommending it to my colleagues and peers.”
Delegates from 16 countries attended the IGCA Congress this year, including 40 visitors from Great Britain, who made up the largest contingent.
Jayne Scott, who was voted the Rising Star at the 2018 GCA conference, said of the trip: “An invaluable experience – making connections with people from all around the world is not something you get the chance to do every day! From talking to each other about how we do things to seeing fresh new ideas within the garden centres sparks inspiration immediately!
“A week-long packed schedule saw us visiting garden centres, gardens, factories and much more and I am so grateful I got to have this experience. With fantastic merchandising especially within houseplant sections, I have certainly come away inspired. What a week!”
The Trust is now inviting donations to fund delegates to future congresses, including the next one in the United Kingdom in September 2019.
Sue Allen, Trust Chairman said: “I am so pleased that for the third successive year the Dick Allen Scholarship Fund, as part of the Trust, has supported this initiative. It has proved to be such a valuable part of helping young staff members within GCA garden centres to broaden their horizons, make new like-minded friends on an international level and help them to gain confidence and to express their opinions within discussion groups.”
Next year the IGCA Congress will be based in Windsor from September 1-6.
Visits are already planned to some of the leading garden centres in the London and South East areas and it is hoped that up to 230 delegates will attend.
“Guests will be offered trips to a combination of amazing historical and tourist venues too including: the Bombay Sapphire Gin distillery and a boat trip on the Thames through London with a stop off at the London Eye. To add to this, we will host a medieval banquet and private tour of Hatfield House.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to see some of the best garden centres and venues in the world, which we have in this country, as well as network and learn from colleagues from many different nations.”
For those who wish to enter for next year’s award, there will be an announcement at the GCA Conference in January 2019 inviting applications.
Sue added: “If anyone wishes to make a donation to ensure the future of this exciting and successful initiative, they should contact Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA on 01244 952170 or visit www.gca.org.uk for more details.”
A promotional video about the 2019 IGCA Congress can be viewed here https://youtu.be/Wb6f9wpxxnI.
Formby nursery is blazing a trail in pot recycling
Formby growers Porters Fuchsias, supplies of the garden centre Happy Plants brand, are stepping up their recycling programme with a new label for their carbon pigment-free pots and bedding packs made from recycled green plastic drinks bottles...
Formby growers Porters Fuchsias, supplies of the garden centre Happy Plants brand, are stepping up their recycling programme with a new label for their carbon pigment-free pots and bedding packs made from recycled green plastic drinks bottles
Calls for an industry-wide initiative to replace black plastic pots (which are not widely recycled kerbside) with re-cyclable alternatives have been growing recently. Porters’ decision earlier this year to switch to ‘Poppelman Blue’ pots for most of their Happy Plants ranges put them ahead of the game. They were the first UK nursery to switch and have been seen in more than 80 independent garden centres, as well as at Notcutts, Dobbies, Tillington and Blue Diamond stores.
The response, they say, has been phenomenal, with the groups in particular “scrambling to get their hands on the stock”.
For 2019, the pots will sport a new label (above and cover page) designed to bring the pot’s recyclability to the attention of consumers. As well as the recycling information, the pots are also printed with a barcode, product name and logo, significantly reducing the use of stickers, which can inhibit a pot's recyclability.
The new printed pots will be launched in the New Year, and will include crops of primroses.
“We believe this pot ticks all the same boxes as the taupe pot currently being discussed- we especially like that the blue pot can be made from 100% recycled post consumer plastics,” they say.
Whilst polypropylene (PP) is considered a desirable material at an industrial recycling level, this has not been the case with kerbside recycling at a consumer level. “More than 90% of pots and bedding packs sold at garden centres end up at the kerbside, so it is essential that we optimise the formats we are using to be as easily recyclable at kerbside as is possible,” the nursery adds.
Because ‘black plastics’ inhibit the near-Infrared sorting equipment used in most kerbside recycling plants, most polypropylene products (especially plant pots) have never been widely recyclable. In turn, this meant a lack of post-consumer material was available to manufacturers, so nobody was making use of the material – and nobody was buying it , so recycling plants had even less incentive to recycle even the non-black PP.
By making their pots carbon pigment-free, and then making use of the resulting post-consumer PP material, Porters have already begun to create a demand, which means the pots will be more valued for recycling and recycling stations have an incentive to process them.
At Porters nursery alone, the initiative has already saved around two million pots from landfill or incineration – for 2019, this should exceed five million.
“We strongly believe that the more nurseries come on board with this incentive, the more likely each pot is to be recycled,” they explain.
Wherever possible, the nursery will again be delivering in Modiform Eco Expert trays (right), which are made from sustainably sourced paper pulp, which can be recycled with newspapers or composted at home.
Porters say their main change for 2019 is the switch to bedding packs made from recycled translucent green PET bottles (7up, Sprite etc). Again, this material has been chosen for its kerbside recycling potential.
Plants in PET can very easily be pushed out without the pack cracking/tearing and slicing the customer’s fingers. Tests have shown no negative effect of its translucency on root structure and Porters believe customers will find it interesting to see the roots.
“We also think the material’s ‘past life’ as a drinks bottle will make a fantastic story to tell,” they say.
Products labelled as a 6UP pack are custom-made 16-per-shelf packs (with the same footprint as a D6 pack). The same plastic will be used plastic for summer 6x9cm carry packs. Options for PET trays are being explored, along with compostable materials for some plant labels.
“We are very happy to see so many other customers following suit- the more companies involved, the more the recycling companies will be obliged to step up and take note,” Natalie Porter told GTN Xtra.
Steve Purton of Dobbies at Milton Keynes has been named as the Cultivation Street Ambassador of the Year in David Domoney’s commmunity gardening campaign.
Cultivation Street is a national gardening campaign that supports community, school and individual garden projects with free gardening advice, newsletters, growing calendars, fund-raising tips and a national competition with cash prizes of more than £21,000.
The categories including Community Gardens, School Gardens, Small Spaces, Front Gardens, Colour Your Life (brand new category for 2018 the sponsor Calliope Geranium) – and the Ambassadors, a special category for garden centres who get involved with gardening in the community in all its forms.
The Ambassador award goes to the garden centre employee who has been the most engaged with their community, built relationships and developed new skills. “A Cultivation Street Ambassador should be somebody who has gardening knowledge, is passionate and has great customer service who is friendly and approachable to those that need advice who are part of the Cultivation Street network,” David says. Ambassadors should have immersed themselves in the campaign by assisting with entries and encouraging communities to share their stories and photos online.
Steve Burton’s success earned him a cash prize of £1,000 – and a glowing testimonial from the judges. “This year, Steve has supported over 1,000 children at his free gardening sessions at Dobbies. He regularly shares his expertise with a local charity, four schools, a college and a hospital to improve their communal spaces. Steve even uses his own car to transport supplies to groups that can't get to him. Great work, Steve!” they reported.
Second prize and £500 went to Zoe Stanmore of Dobbies in Southport. The judges said: “We loved the fact that Zoe runs her own community garden in her spare time and has even gone so far as to donate plants grown there for the benefit of other community groups. She has up to 60 children attend her garden each week and has forged links with local schools and nursing homes. Well done Zoe!”
Third place was taken by Annie Yates of Garden Store, who won £300. “With her focus on creating a free online bank of gardening activities and instruction videos, Annie has done something truly unique,” said the judges. “Due to her online focus, her reach has the potential to expand far beyond the communities in her local vicinity. Plus, her activities are great!”
Steven Purton said: “It feels absolutely amazing to win! It’s lovely that people appreciate what we’re doing. Garden centres can be just another soul-less retail outlet, but the Cultivation Street ambassador scheme turns us into something else – it makes us a part of the community. You have all the schools and clubs that you’re helping and teaching and you really feel like you’re giving something back to the children and adults in the local area. It’s not just about the plants growing but the people growing too.”
The 12 Ambassador runners up (eachj of whom won £100) were: Jackie Barker (Notcutts, Solihull), Gary Bissett (Inver Garden Centre), Louise Canfield (Aylett Nurseries), Angela Fletcher (Notcutts Rivendell), Steve Fry (Gardens Group Dorset), Graham Heath (Garden Store, Littleheath), Georgina Isherwood (Dobbies Kings Lynn), Matthew Lewis (Old Railway Line Brecon), Sophie Lyall (Haskins Southampton), Laura Stevens (Dobbies, Livingstone), Carol Watson (Notcutts Tunbridge Wells) and Andrew Wright (Gardens Group, Yeovil).
During 2018 Calliope® has provided a donation of 10,000 plants to projects across the UK.
8000 of the plants will be made available to the 200 strong network of Cultivation Street Ambassador Garden Centres, for them to pass on to their local schools and communities. The plants were divided into packs containing 12 plug plants of Calliope® geraniums. A garden centre could request a pack for every school and community gardening project they work with.
Calliope® are delighted ambassadors have immersed themselves in the campaign by assisting with entries and encouraging communities to share their stories and photos online.
The new Flopro Classic Hose Reel launched at Glee has hit the market with 30,000 units being given away free of charge at garden centres across the country.
Suppliers Crest Garden say the new Flopro Professional range of top-end watering equipment which has addressed a gap in the market has been extremely well received and the YoYo lightweight expandable hose (below left) in bright new packaging continues to grow.
The £2m Flopro Classic Hose Reel giveaway will be launched to the public in conjunction with The Sun newspaper on Easter Saturday 2019 with substantial editorial coverage. The promotion is thought to be the largest ever giveaway in the garden industry, with gardeners collecting vouchers and visiting their nearest participating centre to collect their hose reel at no charge. Almost two thirds of the 30,000 free reels have already been allocated so retailers are encouraged to register as a participant as soon as possible.
The Flopro Professional is aimed at consumers who likes to use the best. The range includes reels and carts, Tricot reinforced ATS hoses, spray guns, connectors and sprinklers.
The Professional Tripod Sprinkler will attract owners of larger gardens. Covering an area of 23m diameter, it offers sturdy metal construction with adjustable weighted legs for around £40.
The YoYo, whose demonstration unit at Glee created keen interest, is a heavy-duty expandable garden hose that extends to twice its length and retracts to its original size after use, without twisting, kinking or tangling. It is available in 8m, 15m, 20m and 30m lengths and comes ready to use with one hand flow control Multi-Jet Spray Gun plus all tap connectors. POS support includes an in-store video display unit.
Dobbies have invested more than £30,000 on installing defibrillators in their 34 garden centres after hearing a moving account of a family’s bereavement.
When Stirling man William Forsyth died of a heart attack at the age of 67 in a remote location, his family raised funds to buy two life-saving AED machines with the intention of donating them in places meaningful to the family. One was a water sports and leisure business run by William's son at Loch Lomond. The other was Dobbies Garden Centre in Stirling, where William loved to spend his time.
The store's manager, Jonathan Sykes, was moved by the gesture and organised a plaque in William's memory to be fitted alongside the machine – and the company was was so inspired by the donation that they decided to install AED machines in allits 34 stores across the UK. Dobbies worked with the British Red Cross to train staff.
Ross Anderson, head of health and safety at Dobbies, said: “When William's daughter, Lindsay, contacted us about the family's decision to donate a defibrillator in their father's memory, we were honoured. It only seemed right to purchase an AED machine at every one our stores so if tragedy struck, we would have the necessary equipment to help save lives.”
Christine Forsyth, William's wife said: “As a family we wanted to prevent a similar tragedy happening to anyone else. Being in a remote location, we didn't have access to an AED machine. When raising funds, we knew William would have wanted us to donate defibrillators to businesses that were close to our own hearts and if they help save just one life then he would be proud. As a real 'Mr-Fix It' he would do anything to help anybody, so the donation really is in his honour.”
Ciera Venables, Key Account Manager, British Red Cross said: "When used alongside CPR, an AED provides an unresponsive person who is not breathing with the best possible chance of survival. We are proud to support this wonderful initiative inspired by the memory of William Forsyth and Dobbies, who have taken such positive steps in helping to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.”
Pictured: Left to right:: Gordon Forsyth, Christine Forsyth, Jonathan Sykes (Dobbies Stirling store manager) and Lindsay Wingate, William's daughter.
Continuing 'portable' garden trend set to benefit plant sales
Young renters on the move want to take their garden plants with them
The ‘pick it up and take it with me’ trend in gardening is set to continue says Wyevale Nurseries, as figures reveal home ownership among 25-34-year-olds is decreasing with more young people renting instead...
The ‘pick it up and take it with me’ trend in gardening is set to continue says Wyevale Nurseries, as figures reveal home ownership among 25-34-year-olds is decreasing with more young people renting instead.
The English Housing Survey Headline Report 2016-17 found that 46% of 25-34-year-olds now live in private rentals, compared with 27% in 2006-07.
Andy Johnson, MD at Wyevale Nurseries, said: “There is always going to be a market for that instant splash of colour on the patio. However, the mobile garden is going to be more than just instant gratification. Millennial gardeners want to bond with their plants and have that strong emotional connection with them.
“There is now an increasing range of 21st century shrubs that will grow happily in patio pots and that the millennial renters can bond with in the safe knowledge that their beloved phormium can be transported on the back of a removal van.
“We grow a selection of plants such as the quirky Jacobinia ‘Firefly’ (left), colourful Hydrangea Magical series (cover page) and the structured Phormium ‘Blondie’ (right) perfect for the renting household, meaning they don’t have the hassle of replanting each year. Young gardeners are seeing their patio as their new dining room – it just needs some plant décor.
“Flowering from late December through to early summer ‘Firefly’ provides an eye-catching display. It is an attractive, compact growing, very rounded shrub, which is dripping with tubular bicolour flowers, vivid orange at the base changing to bright yellow at the tip. A sun loving plant which will bring early season colour to any garden.”
Phormium ‘Blondie’ was featured as one of the top 20 new plants of 2018 at Chelsea. It is a distinct Phormium, which has a unique weeping habit unlike any other. It will grow into a tight clump up to 80cm tall and 60cm wide with a distinct, strongly arching habit, similar to a chlorophytum.
The leaves are variegated with a cream stripe down the midrib and a green margin. ‘Blondie’ is particularly suited to growing in a patio container where it can be left to gracefully arch over the pot.
Andy added: “In 2017 we became the sole UK grower of the Hydrangea Magical Series. This is an extremely successful multi award-winning Hydrangea series, which has only been available from nurseries outside the UK.
“The ‘Magical’ flowers change colour three to four times during the course of a single year, resulting in a spectacular garden display. These fantastic garden plants are suited for patios, terraces or borders.
“There are eight different varieties including the Plantarium 2015 Best in Show winner Magical ‘Ruby Tuesday’. They flower very early and are compact and robust plants.”
Photograph caption one: Jacobinia ‘Firefly’.
Photograph caption two: Hydrangea Magical series.
Photograph caption three: Phormium ‘Blondie’.
Wildlife World generates record 60% rise in new enquiries
Glee 2018 was Wildlife World’s best yet with a staggering 60 per cent increase in new enquiries. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Wildlife World team wowed garden centre buyers and retailers with its new eye-catching stand...
Glee 2018 was Wildlife World’s best yet with a staggering 60 per cent increase in new enquiries. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Wildlife World team wowed garden centre buyers and retailers with its new eye-catching stand.
Packed full of innovative products, the larger open-ended stand was laid out by species and showcased Wildlife World’s award-winning British designed and tested wildlife range of products.
Buyers were also impressed with the new informative Point of Sale (POS) units. The Wildlife World team works closely with garden centres, retail buyers and merchandising teams to develop new fit-for-purpose point-of-sale (POS) display units which increase awareness of its wildlife portfolio and helps garden centres and retailers to sell more products.
Success has included capitalising on existing award-winning ranges such as the Simon King Brushwood Robin Nester, the ever-popular Solitary Bee Hive, the broad range of hedgehog houses, snack bowls and food and a number of new products.
New products included The Pollinating Company Bee Nester, Shenstone Theatre Bird Bath & Drinker, Beachcomber Bird Bath, ‘No Plastic’ Stainless Steel Bird Feeders, the innovative Hedgehog Crossing and new flat pack DIY Hedgehog House.
The new hedgehog products are extremely relevant and contribute to the current ‘Help save Britain’s hedgehogs with hedgehog highways’ awareness initiatives that are prominent in the national media.
The 60 per cent increase in new enquiries and repeat orders at Glee 2018, combined with the company’s impressive year on year growth has led to the addition of a third new warehouse and expansion of existing workshop facilities and additional staff joining the factory team.
Norman Sellers, Managing Director at Wildlife World said: “We are thrilled at our recent commercial successes which have enabled us to expand our UK team and warehouse facilities. Our business development and account management teams are working tirelessly to expand on existing garden centre and retailer relationships and build contacts with new customers.
“As a company we are increasing our solid commitment to the conservation of species, working with wildlife experts to develop products from which wildlife will receive the greatest benefit.”
The Glee 2018 success will enable Wildlife World to benefit from the rapidly growing environmentally conscious, wildlife consumer trend.
Further information is available from Wildlife World on 01666 505333, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the company’s website at www.wildlifeworld.co.uk
The Kent & Stowe ‘Dig for Victory’ gift and Christmas range really captured the imagination of visitors to Glee, suppliers Crest Garden report.
The life-size wartime bunker and memorabilia plus the representative from Imperial War Museums dressed in authentic clothing was the centrepiece of an evocative re-creation. Ration books, newspapers of the day and everyday household articles re-captured the feeling of these moments from WW2.
The range of ‘Dig for Victory’ gifts targets customers looking for quality, desirable home and garden items at affordable prices. The products are presented fascinating packaging, with each including authentic wartime recipes and a host of garden tips plus images and history of Dig for Victory activity.
There are initially ten home and garden gifts, including a Gardeners’ Gift Pot, 2-litre Watering Can, 500ml Stainless Steel Flask, Home & Garden Carrier Apron, a Dig for Victory engraved Hand Trowel and a nest of uniquely designed Storage Tins. SRPs range from £7.99 to £29.99. They are designed to capture the imagination of anyone who loves attractive home and kitchen decorative accessories, gardening or has a keen interest in history.
Research indicates the value of the gift market to be worth around £20bn with consumers seeking to buy unusual and unique gifts that reflect the recipient’s hobbies and interests. The range is perfect for gardening outlets and ideal for the Christmas gift market.
Twenty four staff at Stewarts Garden Centres have raised £5,500 in sponsorhip for their Brave The Shave appeal for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Visitors to the Christchurch centre watched as both male and female team members had their hair shaved. As part of the fun, many of the men also had their beards removed by local hairdresser Tracey Carter from the Blades salon, who also performed a wax hair removal on the legs of catering tream member Peter Scott. Plant Buyer Katherine Hunt donated her long locks of hair to the Little Princes Trust to be made into a wig for someone who has lost their own hair during cancer treatment.
Above: Paul Hilliam (first left) and Tracey Carter (front left) with some of the Stewarts team who Braved the Shave.
Directors Martin Stewart and Terry Head also stepped up to brave the shave, which was organised by Christchurch centre manager Paul Hilliam after he announced he was “all clear” after two major surgeries and treatments on his head and neck cancer.
“I’m delighted that with this magnificent team effort we exceeded our original target of £2000,” Paul said. “ We owe this to our friends, family and the great support of our customers who also joined in the fun and entered fundraising raffles and competitions on the day.”
MD Martin Stewart said he was proud and inspired by the team’s goodwill and support for a vital charity. “It was a fun day for the team who are now working hard to prepare the centres for a range of Halloween and Christmas events which will support local charities,” he added.
Jackson's 'boutique' Garden Centre in North Wales celebrated 50 years of business this year with fundraising activities and a celebration dinner.
Robert Kingham told GTN Xtra: "Our centre has been celebrating it's 50th Anniversary of the founding of the business by my wife's parents Stan and Marj Jackson.
"During all of our 50 years we have been fortunate to have increased our sales year on year, and this year so far has been our best ever.
"We held a dinner with entertainment for 170 staff, suppliers and friends. It was wonderful to be able to thank all the hard working members of our team along with valued suppliers, some of whom have looked after us for many decades."
The anniversary fundraising activities included three community projects involving a local school, the church and the Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir. In addition we were able to support NSPCC and St Kentigans Hospice, our two nominated charities.
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Wild Bird Care sales see a welcome increase and Gardman products occupy the Top 5 Bestsellers positions.
Hedgehog feeding is becoming more popular with four hedgehog feed lines in the GTN Top 50.
- Gardman Fat Snax, tub of 50 remain at No1 again.
- Westland Natures Feast Hedgehog Food re-entered at No 30.
- Tom Chambers Hungry Hedgehog Blend 0.75kg came back in at No 48.
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Employees from Zest 4 Leisure are all set to take on the Chester Marathon in aid of its chosen charity, Action for Children.
This year a number of employees will tackle the course on Sunday 7th October, alongside Managing Director, Steve Morgan, Simon Davison, Head of Zest Direct and John Vaughan, P&A Fencing & Timber Technical Manager.
Zest, along with its parent company, the P&A Group, has raised nearly £7,000 for the charity since it began fundraising in January and is hoping to achieve a target of £10,000 before the end of the year.
Steve Morgan, Managing Director of Zest 4 Leisure, said:
“I am delighted that so many team members have committed to running the Marathon in aid of our charity of the year. Their commitment to the training sessions that we have put on has been very impressive so we anticipate everyone will make it over the finish line.
“We hope to raise a lot of money for Action for Children and it will be great to see their volunteers as well as family and friends cheering us along the route.”
In addition to running the Chester Marathon, the Zest 4 Leisure team has completed a number of different fundraising activities for Action for Children. Events have included a charity golf day, IRONMAN Wales and even an ‘It’s a Knockout’ obstacle challenge.
Nikki Booth, Action for Children’s fundraiser in North Wales and Shropshire said:
“We have been really impressed not just by the lengths that Zest employees have gone to in order to raise funds but also by Steve’s ability to get everyone involved. The family run company has shown a real commitment to fundraising and we are very thankful for all their efforts.”
Donations to the company’s charity fundraising efforts can be made directly online by following the link at: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com
Cyclamen sales surge ahead
Plant sales surged at the end of September with Cyclamen, Pansies, Violas and Calluna Heathers all seeing big sales increases...
Plant sales surged at the end of September with Cyclamen, Pansies, Violas and Calluna Heathers all seeing big sales increases.
- Cyclamen sales increased by 29% to stay at No 1. This time last year Pansies were No 1.
- Skimmia’s re-entered the GTN Top 50 at No 17.
- Solanum climbed 15 places up the chart to No 21.
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Half pot sales very popular
The last week of September saw a welcome increase in Garden Product sales but the month ended up 2% down on last year and continued the downward trend of the past 4 years...
The last week of September saw a welcome increase in Garden Product sales but the month ended up 2% down on last year and continued the downward trend of the past 4 years.
Big increases were seen in lawn care and pot sales last week, with half pots particularly popular.
- Apta’s Verona Half Pot 26cm was the highest re-entry at No 12.
- Evergreen Garden Care Evergreen Lawn Soil climbed 38 places up the chart to No 10.
- Woodlodge 9 inch Spang Half Pots were the highest new entry at No 27.
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Celebrating the 180th anniversary of the charity dedicated to helping horticulturists, Perennial will hold its annual Party for Perennial on Tuesday 29 January 2019.
The anniversary party will be held in the wonderful surroundings of La Goccia restaurant at Petersham Nurseries (pictured) in Covent Garden, London (7.30 to 11pm).
The party will kick-start Perennial’s 180th anniversary fundraising. Tickets, nopw available at £28, include a glass of fizz on arrival, as well as delicious Italian light bites and there will be a prize raffle. The event is a popular fixture for the horticulture trade, providing a great opportunity for catching up with friends and networking.
Anita Bates, Perennial’s Director of Marketing and Development comments: “We are thrilled to have this stunning venue to host our Party for Perennial 2019, providing a really special setting to kick off our 180th anniversary year in style. Those who have attended before know not only what a fun night the Party for Perennial is, but also that the funds raised make a real difference to the lives of the people we help.”
All money raised through ticket sales and the raffle will help support all UK horticulturists and their families who come to Perennial for help. As the only charity that helps individuals working in and retired from all sectors of the horticulture industry, Perennial is a lifeline for people that have nowhere else to turn.
For more information and to book tickets visit the website: perennial.org.uk/party
Record September for growing media
September 2018 was a great month for growing media sales, reaching an all time GTN Bestsellers high, up 17% on last year and 5% higher than the previous record set in 2016.
September 2018 was a great month for growing media sales, reaching an all time GTN Bestsellers high, up 17% on last year and 5% higher than the previous record set in 2016.
- Evergreen Levington Organic Choice Top Soil 25L was the highest re-entry back in at No 25.
- Kelkay RHS Horticultural Alpine Grit Large Pack saw sales increase by 168% to come back in at No 30.
- Best of British Award winner at Glee, Bloomin Amazing Soil Enricher 70L also re-entered at No 46.
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The best of last week's
If you missed last week's GTN Xtra, below are the most-read stories...
See GTN Xtra's photo tour of the new centre
The second Rosebourne opened this weekend and GTN Xtra joined the invited local VIP's and press to a preview day on Thursday to bring you our photo tour of the new centre.
The management team behind this latest opening are (L-R above) Jon Kitching, Salim Sajid, Centre Manager Dan Adams, Neville Prest and Val Kempster.
Rosebourne Aldermaston has been developed on the site of White Towers Nursery, which had been there for 26 years previously, using EIS funding. The same model used by Rosebourne for Weyhill and also being used by Carol Paris’ Somerton business.
Carol Paris is joining the Rosebourne team temporarily to help with the integration of Wyevale Solihull into the Rosebourne group. Solihull, a former Blooms of Bressingham centre, hence very well known to Jon Kitching, is a leasehold site and that purchase has been financed via bank lending.
As you'll see from our photo tour below, Rosebourne Aldermaston follows the successful template of Weyhill Andover very closely, with just a few differences:
- A local butcher, based in Tatcham.
- Rosebourne are doing the deli themselves.
- Planteria double the size.
- Restaurant not so long and narrow to reduce the distance and time from the pass to the table.
In the waitress served restaurant servers use Corby + Fellas mobile systems to take orders, print bills and take payments direct at the table without having to go back to any till point.
Rosebourne Aldermaston key facts:
- 5,000 sq m
- 220 main car parking spaces + 60 in overflow
- Retail food sales 20% of turnover, catering 25%
- Bigger planteria than at Andover – double the size
- 23 retail food freezers
- 200 covers in waitress served restaurant
The bottom line when moving in to a new garden centre is to make the takeover seamless, almost invisible to the customer – apart from the obvious improvements that being ‘under new management’ promises to bring. That means hiding, as far as possible, a whole load of hard work behind the scenes.
At 5.30pm last Monday, the Bourne family at Perrywood Garden Centre officially took over the Sudbury centre acquired from Wyevale Garden Centres. On Tuesday morning, Hannah Powell tells GTN Xtra, the centre was able to trade as normal – thanks to advance preparations. The first customer is pictured right.
“The work included a communications plan (temporary roadside signs up Monday night, website live on Tuesday, some internal signs replaced, ahead of a full signage audit planned for this week), facilities and health and safety (new fork lift truck, electrical checks etc),” said Hannah. “A new epos system and tills went in on Monday night, linked to our stock system although they won’t be fully integrated for a while. Then we made sure we had staff from the Tiptree site available for training on the till system through the week.
“We did some work to ensure that from week one, it felt more like Perrywood and had similar standards, so we brought plants across from Tiptree, moved houseplants to near the entrance and so on.
“The restaurant is closed, and will reopen as a coffee shop once we have done some work to improve it. We are having one-to-one meetings with all staff this week and next to get to know them and to map out where any skills or rota gaps might be. Next week we will look at resourcing. Publicity and PR will follow when we are confident we have the staff and stock in place.
“We will start to bring in stock from existing Perrywood suppliers from next week. So it’s been a busy week – but we’ve loved the enthusiasm and positivity from the team there, who are excited about being part of the Perrywood family. We didn’t know what to expect as we have not done this before, and we have certainly learnt a lot!
There are lots of decisions to make, but our suppliers of stock and services have been brilliant too, helping us along the way. Having trusted partners definitely helps.”
St Johns Garden Centre in Barnstaple, Devon, has bought Ashford Barnstaple Garden Centre from Wyevale. "We took the site over on Friday 28th September and started trading over the weekend," Nick Oliver told GTN Xtra. "Ashford is a great site to the west of Barnstaple and compliments our trading at St Johns which is in the east of the town."
"We have a good crew at Ashford who are champing at the bit to make changes and improvements. Our plan is to get the centre clean and tidy for winter trading and to be fully ready horticulturally by Feb 1st 2019."
A spokesperson for Wyevale Garden Centres said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of Ashford Barnstaple. We would like to thank our great colleagues at the centre, who have been central to our turnaround in the past few years, and wish our colleagues well under the new ownership.”
Wyevale Ashford, a 5.1 acre site, was advertised for sale at £2.1m freehold when all 146 Wyevale Garden Centres were put up for sale in May this year. Previously Ashford was owned by Trelawney Garden Centres who sold it to Wyevale in November 2014. At the time it became Wyevale's 142nd garden centre. See GTN Xtras story about the sale to Wyevale here
The sale of Wyevale Garden Centres continue with more announcements anticipated later this month.
See links to GTN Xtra stories of the sales so far below
Former Gardman and Solus CEO Mark Pearson has taken the helm at Primrose following the online garden retailer’s acquisition by investors Rockpool.
The £6.5m deal was facilitated by bankers OakNorth. Primrose is the UK’s largest online pureplay garden retailer.
With Rockpool’s support, Primrose, with Pearson as CEO, aims to expand its product offering across new categories, invest in its website and further penetrate European markets
OakNorth deals with with private equity firms this year include those for Lonsdale Capital’s acquisition of Simmons Bars and Literacy Capital’s acquisition of Dartmouth Partners.
Rockpool has invested around £350m in 70 companies across a diverse range of industries since its inception in 2012.
Founded in 2003, Primrose has an active customer base of more than 2.5m people with its products sold in the UK, US, and Europe.
Rockpool has appointed highly-experienced private equity industry chairman David Brock as non-executive chairman and will appoint a further non-executive director to support the business, with one of their partners, Darran Green, attending Primrose board meetings as the investor representative.
While Rockpool hold a majority stake, the management team have also invested significantly.
There have been several investments by private equity firms in the UK garden sector over the past few years - Foresight Private Equity’s acquisition of Hobbies Direct in June, Midlothian and Hattington Capital’s acquisition of Dobbies Garden Centres in 2016, and Rutland Partners’ acquisition of Gardman Group in 2015.
Commenting on the deal, Adam Agius, debt finance director at OakNorth, said: “Primrose is a well-run online business with an excellent reputation for providing high-quality garden products, service and support. In Rockpool, they’ve found a partner who can help take the business to the next level and ensure it’s prepared for a future that’s increasingly digital and increasingly international. Mark Pearson has been working alongside senior management at Primrose for a year so is well positioned to transition to CEO. We’re delighted to have supported the business with this acquisition and look forward to working with Rockpool on future transactions.”
Darran Green, Partner at Rockpool Investments, said: “Online sales of garden products account for approx. £650m of overall UK garden retail sales (13% share) and are expected to increase to £840m by 2020. Primrose is in a prime position to take advantage of this with a dedicated and growing customer base, solid partner and supplier relationships, and a market-leading product range. Mark has a strong track record of profitable business growth, strategic planning, and operational change management in SME and blue-chip US multinational organisations. He is the perfect candidate to lead this business into the next stage of its growth and we’re excited to help Primrose on its journey.”
UK’s first recyclable pots arrive at Hillier Nurseries
The horticultural industry is leading the battle against single-use plastics and plans were announced in August to introduce the first kerbside recyclable plant pots in 2019, which will completely replace the current black plastic pots that cannot be recycled. Hillier Nurseries in Hampshire took delivery of their first pots last week, making it the first nursery in the UK to grow a commercially potted crop in a recyclable pot...
The horticultural industry is leading the battle against single-use plastics and plans were announced in August to introduce the first kerbside recyclable plant pots in 2019, which will completely replace the current black plastic pots that cannot be recycled.
One nursery has worked tirelessly in recent weeks to bring this date forward. Hillier Nurseries in Hampshire took delivery of their first pots last week, making it the first nursery in the UK to grow a commercially potted crop in a recyclable pot. Hillier plants will be the first product through any UK retailer to be available in a kerbside recyclable pot giving customers the environmentally friendly option they’ve been looking for.
Hillier Nurseries constantly strives to explore sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic and the new taupe kerbside recyclable plant pot will be used across the entire Hillier wholesale nursery business, replacing the old black plastic pot.
Chris Francis, Hillier Garden Centres and Wholesale Nurseries Director, commented: “This is a real breakthrough in the industry and we are delighted to be the leading the way as the first UK nursery to commercially use the new taupe recyclable pot. Hillier has always been a pioneer within horticulture and the introduction of the new kerbside recyclable plant pot throughout our Nurseries will have a considerable impact as we forge ahead towards finding sustainable solutions to this global issue.”
Currently 76% of Local Authorities collect pots, tubs and trays as part of their kerbside recycling schemes but not many collect the black plant pots. This is because the plant pots contain carbon black pigment which absorbs Infra-Red from detection systems, hindering recycling. The new pot will use a carbon black pigment free polypropylene solving this problem.
Hillier is committed to driving positive change and working in partnership in the horticulture industry and each year makes a concerted effort in developing new plants, new ways of growing and utilising new technology to ensure the growth of the industry in a safe and sustainable way for generations to come.
For more information please visit www.hillier.co.uk.
Perrywood fined £104,000
Local newspapers in Essex were reporting last week that Perrywood Garden Centre in Tiptree had been fined over £100,000 for failing to protect its employees from hazardous chemicals...
Local newspapers in Essex were reporting last week that Perrywood Garden Centre in Tiptree had been fined over £100,000 for failing to protect its employees from hazardous chemicals.
The fine was imposed by Basildon Magistrates’ Court as a result of an investigation by environmental health officers after an official complaint was raised by an employee in September 2017.
Alan Bourne, managing director of Perrywood Garden Centre and Nurseries Ltd, told the Essex County Standard: “We take the health and safety of our team and customers extremely seriously and have a number of policies and procedures in order to safeguard everyone at the garden centre.
“Unfortunately, an incident did occur in 2017 concerning a current member of staff. Since then we have put additional policies and training in place to ensure that an incident like this does not occur again.”
Read the full Essex County Standard report here