"In 2017 we achieved an 8% increase in profit before tax and maintained a strong debt position in the year, which is a creditable result considering the wider environment." That is the opening statement from Blue Diamond Chairman Simon Burke in the groups Year End Accounts for 2017.
Managing Director Alan Roper adds "in a challenging year profit before tax increased from £8.4m to £9.2m. This profit increase was predominantly delivered through customer average spend, and gross margin growth."
"In 2017 average spend grew by 5.6% against a Garden Centre Association (GCA) average growth of 1.4%."
The report details the average GCA spend for 2017 at £20.75 while the average Blue Diamond spend was £23.19.
The full Blue Diamond Report and Accounts can be seen at: https://www.bluediamond.gg/financial-reports
Speaking to GTN Xtra this weekend, Alan Roper said that after the Bank Holiday week; "there is now a distinct possibility that we will be up on 2017 year to date by end of May."
Asked about his vision for the size of the Blue Diamond Group in the future, Alan added: "The operational structure which I implemented a few years ago is scalable and is designed to ensure retail standards are maintained. The recent adjustments to allow managers to focus on customer service alongside more resources being applied should also ensure high standards are maintained. Continuing to develop the teams and appoint people who share the values of standards and service is paramount.
"Existing staff in new acquisitions have been successfully retained and trained where necessary to embrace the culture of our business whose values are high retail standards, high service levels delivered with a point of difference.
"The Group is on course to surpass the budgeted £110m and I can see us being able to double the turnover and still retain those values."