Buoyant future forecast for garden centre trade

The future of the garden centre industry is "buoyant" after rising out of the recession, according to Ian Barlow, the former owner of Sidmouth Garden Centre.

Sidmouth: service awards (HW)
Sidmouth: service awards (HW)

Barlow, who owned Sidmouth for 15 years before selling to Wyevale Garden Centres in October, said garden centres have "not suffered as an industry compared to other industries" because the centres are a "leisure destination that are cheap to visit".

He added that sales at Sidmouth were 16-20 per cent up and big-ticket items were selling better again. Sidmouth has won multiple Garden Retail Awards for customer service and Barlow said that aspect of the business has helped it to become a part of the community that is "well liked in the town" and "important to the area socially".

Wyevale is under-represented in the West Country and wants national coverage to help its click-and-collect business. The 151-centre chain will announce four more acquisitions this month.

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