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Waitrose and Morrisons to join Next in targeting the gardening sector

Three major retail players, Next, Waitrose and Morrisons are all targeting the gardening market this season.

Plans include a new branch of Next Home and Garden to be opened this summer and which will be created from a former Homebase unit in Camberley in Surrey.

Work has already started on site, with the 43,000sq ft unit being substantially modernised and extended through the installation of a mezzanine floor.

A spokesperson for Next's real estate partner, British Land, said the development made "optimum use of the property's open A1 planning consent and dominant location".

At 4,300sqm, the centre will be Next's largest Home and Garden. The fashion chain has Home and Garden stores in Shoreham, West Sussex, and Ipswich. Warrington will open on 23 May after a fire last year.

Next plans 20 Home & Garden stores nationwide.

Meanwhile, Waitrose, which has 288 branches, is planning to open 4.6m lockable garden sales units outside several of its stores.

The supermarket chain signed Alan Titchmarsh as the new face of its brand last week.

And Morrisons is bringing back its garden centres in 2013 after 130 opened successfully at the supermarket chain in 2012.

Some 102 garden centres were opened by the start of March. A representative said: "These are located all over the country and are generally under a canopy next to the store or within the car park.

"These only open over the summer for roughly 20 weeks but there is no definite close down date yet - weather dependent. Stock includes outdoor plants, bedding, soil, pots - a mixture of plants and home and leisure. Indoor plants and flowers are not present in our garden centres."

Source : Matthew Appleby – Horticulture Week

06 March 2013
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