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The Garden Centre Group commences review of staffing levels at Garden & Leisure stores

JOBS could be lost at Ivybridge’s Endsleigh Garden and Leisure centre after its new owners started a review of staffing numbers.

The garden centre, on the A38 just outside Plymouth, employs 132 people.

It was one of seven similar businesses snapped up by The Garden Centre Group (TGCG) last September in what was understood to be a multi-million-pound deal.

Now the new owners have decided to carry out an efficiency review of its management structure and staffing, which could result in redundancies.

It is understood that this is part of TGCG’s plans to integrate the centre into its estate following last year’s acquisition, and also included potential site improvement and investment.

TGCG stressed no decisions have been made yet, but meetings have been held with staff at Endsleigh, and collective and individual consultations will be carried out.

Staff at Endsleigh have declined to comment when approached by The Herald.

A spokesperson for TGCG said: “As part of the integration of the Endsleigh Centre into our estate, we are proposing to review the management structure and staffing models.

“We are very excited about the opportunities to invest and develop the centre.”

Last year, Endsleigh’s parent firm, Garden & Leisure Group, was sold by its owner Louis Delhaize, which also owns Truffaut, a leading French garden centre group, to TGCG.

The purchase added seven large garden centres in “prime locations” to TGCG’s portfolio of 132 centres.

It represented the first acquisition of a major chain of garden centres since TGCG was itself bought in 2012 by Terra Firma – one of Europe’s leading private equity firms – for £276million, and followed the acquisition of Cheddar and Lechlade garden centres.

Terra Firma last year said a “key pillar” of its strategy was increasing the size of the group and it was seeking “high-quality acquisition opportunities”.

TGCG, the nation’s largest group of garden centres, now has 139 centres across the country, including Blooms Garden Centres, Country Gardens and Wyevale Garden Centres.

Ninety per cent of its plant stock is British-grown, and much of it in its own nurseries.

TGCG employs more than 5,000 staff and runs its own gardening membership club, The Gardening Club, which has more than two million members.

Source : William Telford - Plymouth Herald

11 February 2014
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