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Hillview Group sees significant opportunities in the Midlands

The Hillview Group has a "huge opportunity" in the garden retail industry, the group's garden retail division MD Boyd Douglas Davies has said.

Speaking at the GIMA Business Meeting in Warwickshire earlier this month, Mr Douglas Davies revealed some of his plans for the group's first outlet, Studley Garden Centre, as well as outlining the firm's strategy for building up its portfolio.

"What Hillview saw in our industry was a huge opportunity to create a series of outlets which are part of the local community, but backed by a group structure," he said. "We want to have our products displayed in creative ways in the centres and we want to do things in a local way where we can. And that's about being part of the local community as well as selling local products if it's good. If it's not good I don't think we'll be doing it. We'll only sell local stuff if it's the best we can offer our customer."

The former Webbs chief executive said Hillview saw garden centres as "the place to be" in tough economic times. The company acquired Studley Garden Centre in Redditch from Hillier in September and is currently looking for more sites around the Midlands area.

"We'll try and make sure we have a rounded garden centre offer, creatively displayed and simply merchandised with the right information," he explained. "Hillview has backed this venture because we believe that the garden centre is still the place to be. Garden centres are totally flexible outlets and what we have is a wonderful environment to keep engaging with our customers. Our customers thrive on variety. It doesn't matter if in three years we're doing something different. That's far more difficult for a high street site. Our customers actually come to see the changes. They thrive on shopping a changing environment."

He added: "We're trying to buy garden centres around the Midlands, that are at least five acres, and we're trying to buy garden centres that are in good locations - going out of town and down a country lane isn't going to be the way forward. The weather is a big off-put but the fuel costs are going to be another problem. Places on a good main road with access to a large population have every reason to do well, but they need to keep engaging with their customers."

Source : DIY Week

18 November 2011
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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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