In This Issue
Only nine days left to add your name to the SOLEX Football and Awards Afterparty guest list
Daisy Nook Garden Centre is up for sale
Hex Living win the GIMA Golf Day as £000's raised for Greenfingers Charity
Burleydam sold to to Carr Farm Garden Centre
Blue Diamond results confirm UK's largest garden centre business by sales
Empathy unveils new livery for 2024
SmashGrill by Grillstream wins Best Gas BBQ award
Kate's 366 Daily Run - June Update
Hillier wins top accolade with Ideal Home Garden Retailer of the Year Award
Blue Diamond Garden Centres create the perfect plant “capsule wardrobe” for garden or outdoor space
British Garden Centres returns to BBC Gardeners' World Live
David Domoney partners with living wall specialists Wonderwall
Greenfingers to create kitchen garden at Chestnut Tree House
Luke Hopkins joins Ascalon
What is the YPHA Launch Success Challenge? And who will be involved?
Why NOVA won’t be attending trade shows this year
Hot Competition at Hot Off The Potting Bench
Meet your new favourite supplier at Glee Home, Gift & Clothing – the home of exclusive & new brands
Top things to do at this month’s HTA National Plant Show
Farplants to unveil trio of award-contending plants for National Plant Show 
Feverfew Garden Company celebrates first birthday
Apta Lightweight proving that change is possible
HTA highlights horticultural excellence at Scone Palace Garden Fair
British Grooms Association and Equestrian Employers Association announce new partnership with Henchman
Summer Showrooms Directory and Plant Sales Vox-Pop in GTN's May issue, read on-line here
Enders – now available in the British and Irish markets
Meat alternatives on the BBQ - a revolution or simply a trend?
EGO Power Plus takes battery charging to next level
Get your copy of GTN Xtra
Char-Broil appoints new team to fire up UK business
Stewart launches new balcony planters 
FlowerTrials: Key event of the year for pot and bedding plants
PLANTARIUM|GROEN-Direkt to place new plants in the spotlight
The best of last week's
GCA launches hunt for new inspector
Allensmore announces death of chairman Brian Taylor
Gina Hinde promoted to General Manager at LOFA
Blue Diamond Garden Centres launches Community Garden Competition
Floralsilk’s stunning showroom is a must-see part of your buying journey
SOLEX Exhibition to kick off festivities with Awards Ceremony and Afterparty
Whisk out your tongs: SOLEX's Fire Food & Outdoor Living Evening returns for its second sizzling year
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Blue Diamond results confirm UK's largest garden centre business by sales

Blue Diamond's Report and accounts for year ended 31st December 2023 shows sales increased by £51m to £311m with profit before tax increasing by £3m to £24m.


Simon Burke, Blue Diamond Chairman states: "Having reported in January that we saw good trading in the second half of the year, I am pleased to confirm that for 2023 we achieved a profit before tax of £24.2m, an increase of 16% on 2022. Our sales were £310.6m versus £259.3m last year, a total increase of 20% and a like-for-like increase of 9%.


"This marks an important milestone for Blue Diamond, because we have now become the UK’s largest garden centre business by sales. Apart from the prestige associated with being the market leader, this brings benefits in terms of buying power and also the ability to form significant national partnerships such as that with the National Trust."


The report also includes comparison of Blue Diamond trading performance compared to data provided by the Garden Centre Association (GCA)


Managing Director, Alan Roper says "The figures are quite an endorsement of how strong Blue Diamond is in generating like-for-like sales growth. Our growth over the past 4 years is treble that of the GCA. The one department that is behind the industry is garden furniture, but we have worked on this and expect this year’s performance to be the beginning of clawing back lost ground.


"Core garden centre sales were up 3.7% against the prior year, which although modest in comparison with the industry that is still normalising after the post-pandemic sales boom, is nearly a 6% positive variance. You can see in the table consumer demand for gardening and garden furniture products is yet to return to normal levels. 


"Inflation moderated significantly in 2023 (as predicted in last year’s report), meaning that volumes were only 1% lower than sales. Our average spend last year was £32.44, which is over £5 higher than the industry average (GCA) and is testament to our high standards of customer service and product choice.


The average number of employees during the year was 4,188, up by 513 on 2022.  This is made up of 138 management staff and 4,050 retail staff.


Alan Roper explains: "Last year saw a 10% rise in the minimum wage (which was repeated in April of this year). I took the decision to maintain the hourly rate gap against the minimum wage for the many employees who are paid above the minimum wage (to maintain fairness and support staff retention) and therefore this was a significant cost increase, which has impacted our bottom line. Staff costs rose by 6.3% which was an additional increase of 3.7% against the previous norm before the pandemic, which had seen annual increases of approximately 2.6%. This equated to inflation driving our wage costs up by an additional £2.3m. The true impact was £1.9m thanks to greater efficiencies in staff costs, which increased by 0.7% of turnover, from 25.4% to 26.1%.


"Garden centre staff costs as a percentage of turnover rose by 0.4% from 16.8% to 17.2%. Restaurant staff costs driven by inflation remained higher at 41.9% of turnover than the previous norm of 38.5% in 2019, but decreased against the 42.9% recorded in 2022. Restaurants typically have a higher proportion of hourly paid staff, which means the higher minimum wage has a greater impact on staff costs. Group operational staff costs fell slightly to 3.1% of turnover from 3.2% in 2022."



On the Blue Diamond relationship with the national Trust, which culminated in winning the Peoples Choice Award for the Octavia Hill Garden at Chelsea Flower Show, Alan reports: "We are also working on a collection of plants inspired by this garden, which will be sold through our centres. Blue Diamond will also launch a new and exclusive rose at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Rosa 'National Trust Beauty' in celebration of Octavia and the Garden at Chelsea. We exhibited at six RHS shows in 2023.


"I will end by thanking all my colleagues for another excellent and progressive year as we cement ourselves as not only the largest garden group in the UK, but also the most profitable and successful in UK history."


Read the full Blue Diamond Report and Accounts 2023 here






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