Blue Diamond wins planning permission for Newbridge and announces 10% growth

Blue Diamond has won a planning consent for Newbridge Nurseries in Horsham, West Sussex.

Blue Diamond's Newbridge site will see a new glasshouse and retail buildings
Blue Diamond's Newbridge site will see a new glasshouse and retail buildings

Horsham District Council granted permission at Newbridge for demolition of existing bungalow, garage, retail and storage buildings and erection of a glasshouse to provide additional covered garden centre sales space, replacement goods in building with yard area, replacement and upgraded horticultural plant shades, surface and improved parking and additional landscaping.

Managing director Alan Roper said: "We've just received planning permission for Newbridge to expand the site. It's currently £5.3 m turnover and this will allow us to grow to approximately £9m. The site already overtrades. This also extends the existing restaurant and allows build for a second."

He said a 20th Blue Diamond centre acquisition is "taking time… but it will get there". Planning is also in for a revamp of Fermoy's in Devon.

Blue Diamond's trading statement for the year ending 31 December 2016 states that the 19-centre group "produced another successful trading performance in 2016".

Total sales increased by 10 per cent and like for like sales grew by seven per cent. UK total sales have risen by 10 per cent and by more than seven per cent on a like for like basis. Channel Islands sales growth of five per cent was "much stronger than in recent years.

Other highlights:

  • Garden centre sales have outperformed the industry in all key categories.
  • There were exceptional performances from the Fashion and Garden Leisure categories, whilst Gardening and Plants delivered excellent growth.
  • Harlow Garden Centre, acquired in May 2016, and Coton Orchard, which joined the Group in December 2016, made a useful contribution, but both are scheduled for significant development in 2017 to realise their full potential.
  • Trentham Garden Centre has seen strong growth since its redevelopment early in 2016 and Derby Garden Centre was refurbished in November 2016.
  • The Board is seeking new investors to purchase the 253,332 authorised but unissued shares offered to existing investors in October 2016 but not taken up.
  • Blue Diamond expect to have an update on this by the end of February 2017. Shares are still available for existing shareholders to buy at £9.50.

Alan Roper wil be speakng at this month's Garden Retail Summit 2017 - the leading independent knowledge and networking event for executives. Taking place in London on 23rd February, this year's event will focus on growth, and include the opportunities and challenges of 'Brexit', learnings from the latest garden centre developments - and will be opened with a keynote address from John Cleland, CEO, Dobbies.  For more details and tickets go to: www.gardenretailawards.com/summit


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