Best Planteria - Winner: Camden Garden Centre

The planteria is at the very heart of the ethos and success of Camden Garden Centre, a traditional centre based on plants and gardening.

Best Planteria - Winner: Camden Garden Centre
Best Planteria - Winner: Camden Garden Centre

On entering, customers walk straight into the outdoor planteria bedding and promotional area and continue through to plants.

Entering the building, customers go straight into the indoor planteria. Benching is kept as close to eye level as possible and the centre does not heavily destock in winter.

Registered charity Camden Garden Centre Charitable Trust, founded in 1983, has a social purpose to help people from a disadvantaged background who experience multiple barriers to gaining long-term employment. After two years, when staff have become valuable employees, Camden moves them on to take on new trainees.

The Camden Garden Centre site covers 1,916sq m and only has 20 car parking spaces. This means that the centre has to work hard on marketing and to provide a range of products that appeal to London gardeners while offering ease of shopping in a small, confined space.

The garden centre was built in 1992 on the site of Greenham concrete works, incorporating concrete works' aggregate bunkers to create "rooms" for themed plants and materials.

The planteria is only 730sq m but turns over £834 per square metre excluding VAT and the average customer spend in the whole garden centre is £33.95 excluding VAT. The indoor planteria has seen phenomenal growth over the past two years, with sales of £2,166 per square metre excluding VAT.

The centre aims to improve the previous year's turnover by at least 5% while improving profits and continuing to provide Camden's social purpose with trainees within the department.

Improving margin is another focus, as are maintaining quality, improving displays and reducing waste. Customer service and marketing by email are two other areas of work, with promotional email opening rates at 35%.

Highly commended

Notcutts, Woodford Park

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