Wyevale Garden Centres has confirmed that the Old Barn Garden Centre has been sold to Tates of Sussex, who will continue to run it as a garden centre. Old Barn Nursery was included in the sale and will be operated under license by WGC for a period of at least 12 months.
A spokesperson for WGC said: "We are pleased to have agreed the sale of Old Barn. 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 them well under the new ownership."
Wyevale paid £7m for Old Barn in 2007. The published asking price for the 15-acre site was £5.2 earlier this year when Terra Firma announced they were selling the group.
It is the fourth garden centre for Tates, who own Paradise Park (Newhaven), South Downs Nurseries & GC (Hassocks) and Mayberry GC (Portslade). The group also owns the South Downs Heritage Centre at Hassocks, which boasts a Museum of Gardening.
The announcement on tatesofsussex.co.uk said: “We look forward to welcoming all new and existing Tates of Sussex customers at our new centre. A new look store is just around the corner, and we hope you will notice improvements to your shopping experience over the coming months. If you are already an Old Barn customer, we would welcome any comments and feedback you may have. You can get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting the ‘Contact Us’ page on our website. Keep an eye on our website and social media to stay up to date with all our news and exciting future developments at Old Barn.”
The centre closed on for 2 days on 30 and 31 October while Wyevale branding was removed, re-opening on Thursday 1 November .
The Tates group, which also includes car dealerships, enjoyed a turnover of £68m last year. The Tate Brothers business had its origins in wheelwrights, car repairs and engineering. The current CEO and majority shareholder is Jonathan Tate, a horticulturist, who in 1982 established a nursery and then a garden centre business.
The Old Barn is the 31st Wyevale to be sold in the £450m sell-off. With most of the major destination sites now dispatched, attention is expected to turn to the destiny of the group’s remaining 109 centres. The hot money is on acquisition by private equity capital and the subsequent dispersal of sites to a mix of new operators and property developers.