In This Issue
Much loved industry figure passes away after cancer battle
OBE's for Colin Squire and John Athwal
Rachel Doyle of Arboretum scoops Retail Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award
Bunnings UK boss to take a three month break
New Year Greetings to all our readers
When will the For Sale sign go up at Wyevale GCs?
So what went on behind closed doors at the Wyevale suppliers meeting.?
Rising Stars 2017 - The final 12
Owners of garden centre face £21,000 bill after selling 'dangerous' items
Wyevale Garden Centres announces shift away from acquisitions
Wyevale Garden Centres named on 'worst to work for' list
Sad news - Alistair Lorimer dies
Durston Garden Products HOLD prices for 2018
New display ideas, new products, new suppliers at Bunnings first UK garden centre - GTN Xtra picture exclusive
Retail ops restructured as going gets tough for Wyevale GCs
All eyes will be on how Wyevale GCs plans to replace 'unsustainable' growth strategy with core business focus
Sir Terry and Mr M...unfinished business at Dobbies?
Mothers Day bonanza as garden centre records are broken across the country
We cleared out Homebase management too quickly, confesses parent company's new CEO
Carol Paris is leaving the HTA
Dobbies "gets together with Ocado to be the best on-line"
Nicholas Marshall is back in the gardening industry as CEO of Dobbies
Newshound finds Mr M has been busy recruiting 'experience'...
Terra Firma props up Wyevale Garden Centres
So this is what a Bunnings Warehouse looks like...
A bittersweet moment says Scott CEO as he announces UK, Europe and Aussie sell-off
Gardman reports £1.5m loss - but earnings soar by 50%
Blue Diamond buys Bridgford Garden Centre
Exponent Private Equity to buy Scotts business in UK, Europe and Australia
Brothers sell £15m Yarnton Nurseries business
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Westland win Sword of Excellence with SafeLawn
Is this the smallest garden centre in the UK?
Glee to hold two shows per year from 2018 onwards
Garden retailers sign up to industry Xylella statement
Marshall's strategy for Dobbies to put focus back on plants
Woodlodge win GCA Associate of the year Award
"The Best Glee for Years" - Retailers verdict on this years show
"Xylella is the most serious situation I have come across in 32 years in the industry"
MEP's vote to ban glyphosate completely by 2022
Blisters, tomatoes, over 100 walkers and runners raise over £22k on Garden Re-Leaf Day
Coolings buys Potted Garden Nursery at Maidstone
Exclusive pictures from Bunnings' biggest store yet
New men at the top at Hillier
Xylella fastidiosa: how Italy has tackled the problem
Town & Country is sold to EP Barrus
Supplier rebates to exceed £1.5m for Choice members
"Garden Centre of the Future" planned for new outlet retail centre at Downtown Grantham
Bunnings UK No. 3 - Hemel Hempstead in pictures
Shoplifting costs retailers £800m a year says research
Scotts: We want out of Europe...but we won't give the business away
New trade show will demonstrate how to cater for vegans
Historic exhibition and new branding for Dobbies
Exciting new-build garden centre underway
Bunnings - Homebase - sales drop by £44m
Glyphosate licence approved for 5 years
2017: A year of transition for the garden centre trade
Top 50 most-read stories in GTN Xtra 2017
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All eyes will be on how Wyevale GCs plans to replace 'unsustainable' growth strategy with core business focus
No 11 Most Read Story 2017. First published: Sunday 1 October, 2017

Wyevale Garden Centres’ results published last week suggest that the problems facing parent Terra Firma as it strives to turn the 149-centre business around ahead of a planned sale are even greater that most people feared.

WGC announced losses of £122.4m for 2016 – a garden centre industry record – most of it sustained in the first half of the year, on revenues of £328.3m, up 5.5% on 2015. The losses were mainly due to a £51.3 impairment of fixed assets and a £20m write-off of old stock.

A process of transition is under way, with new leadership, new ERP and EPoS systems, a new supply chain strategy and a shake-up in employee relations, all now backed up with £141.5m of re-financing to oil the works. Sources believe the current year’s performance is more encouraging and CEO Roger Mclaughlan, who took over in spring last year, says he is happy with a pattern of like-for-like growth.

WGC’s lack lustre past performance is at odds with the increased profits being reported by other leading garden centres in mixed weather year.

The Garden Centre Association’s barometer of trade in September showed year-to-date growth of 4% for members who submitted figures, despite mixed weather, prompting Gary Carvosso, MD at Coolings Garden Centre, to declare that “overall so far 2017 is shaping up to be a great year for core gardening and catering yet again”.

The most revealing aspect of the annual report is the admission by the CEO that the previous management team’s approach to growth – largely prioritising acquisitions – was “ultimately unsustainable”.  As a consequence, WGC now says it will not be going shopping for more centres just yet, although it may re-join the acquisition trail when the business is back on track. That news will disappoint a few key independent garden centres about to post ‘for sale’ notices - but all eyes will be on the WGC measures designed to make a difference on the shop floor where it matters most.

Instead, Mclaughlan, who has visited more than 100 of the group’s centres, spoken to around 2,000 employees and listened to hundreds of customers, is keen to re-focus on getting the core the business right.

He says the customer research programme has given him a great insight into what customers value and expect from a Wyevale Garden Centre. “We have already implemented a number of short term actions to improve our customer experience,” he said. “Our customers are commenting positively on these early changes as reflected by the group achieving its highest net promoter score to date, a critical measure of customer satisfaction.”

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