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Garden Centre Group up 11m & appoints adviser ahead of sale

The Garden Centre Group has reported an eight per cent rise in sales to £152m for the six months to June 30 from £141m and appointed Rothschild as financial adviser to consider strategic options.

Plant sales went up 14 per cent, and gardening products by 12 per cent.

The group's 91 restaurants saw record revenues up 14 per cent to £18m.

Gross margin increased by one per cent to 50 per cent through sourcing locally.

CEO Nicholas Marshall said:

"There is no doubt that the gardening industry has benefited from the better weather this spring coupled with a late Easter. It would be wrong to assume that the group has only done well because of these two factors as the group has outperformed the rest of the industry that is struggling to keep up with last year's sales."

He added: "At the heart of our success has been recognising the reason why people visit a garden centre, namely to buy plants, and ensuring that our customer offer is better than our competitors in terms of quality, range and value."

Chairman Andrew Sells said the board has appointed financial advisor Rothschild "to advise on the strategic options for what is a unique, asset-rich retail business which is well positioned to generate significant future growth."

He added: "Nicholas Marshall and his team have transformed this business since 2008 in difficult trading conditions. Today, anyone visiting one of our centres will see a major realignment of the business back to what customers want: a focus on plants coupled with real horticultural expertise."

He added: "With the business now performing well and showing positive momentum from the initiatives put in place by the management team, now it is time for the company to look at the various options going forward."

Source : Matthew Appleby - Horticulture Week

11 July 2011
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