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Terra Firma forced to prop up Wyevale

Wyevale - Percy Throwers Garden Centre

Over the weekend, The Sunday Telegraph broke the news that Wyevale the UK's largest garden centre chain with 140 stores, bought by Terra Firma for £276m in 2012, came within a whisker of breaching its banking covenants due to a slump in earnings.

Despite Terra Firma's attempts to renegotiate with its banks in Q1 2017, one of the key lenders refused to change its terms. As a result, in order to avoid a breach, Terra Firma had to spend £25m to buy out the bank’s debt.

Last year Wyevale attempted to acquire its major competitor Dobbies from Tesco, a move that would have made it six times the size of its nearest competitor. However, it lost out to Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital.

Last August Justin King (former CEO of Sainsbury's) was appointed Chairman of Wyevale, read more here.

Here at Insight, we track the retail prices of the largest home and garden retailers in the UK. Every two weeks we audit Wyevale, B&Q, Homebase, Wickes and the new Bunnings stores in St.Albans and publish the iGarden30, a basket of 30 of the fastest selling and biggest branded garden products. 

Despite previous commitments from Wyevale management to be more competitive on price, Wyevale remain very expensive when compared to the likes of B&Q, Homebase and Wickes on identical or directly comparable lines. On the iGarden30 audit completed on 31st March 2017, the basket of 30 products that cost £285 in Homebase, £288 in B&Q and £295 in Wickes, would have cost £417 in Wyevale, over 40% more expensive.

With so many ways that consumers can now compare retail prices, no wonder shoppers are turning their backs on Wyevale and shopping elsewhere.

View the iGarden30 retail price basket comparisons here.

Source: Insight Team

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22 May 2017

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