Centres told to maximise warehouse space value

Garden centres need to look at maximising warehousing space value, Malcolm Scott Consultants planner Chris Primett has said, after Frosts converted 960sq m storage buildings at Millets Farm, Woburn Sands and Willington into retail, play barn and catering.

Garden Centre 2020: updated vision launched at Glee - Malcolm Scott Consultants
Garden Centre 2020: updated vision launched at Glee - Malcolm Scott Consultants

"Centres need to work out the cost of warehousing and think if they can use the space better with a central warehouse elsewhere," he said. More just-in-time buying means less preseason stockholding, meaning some warehousing is not needed.

There is also planning permission for a 400sq m canopy at Frosts Woburn Sands. Malcolm Scott Consultants has also secured planning permission for alterations and extensions at Glendoick Garden Centre near Perth. The alterations will see an additional 340sq m of space in the garden centre's restaurant, enabling a further 150 covers.

Primett said Brexit has not led to a holding of developments. But Smiemans' Jan De Leeuw said garden centres are being "more careful and waiting for reassurance that everything will work out fine" before extending. Smiemans has a new corporate identity in line with its EdenParks brand.

Scotts launched a 2020 garden centre vision at Glee in response to the HTA's concerns about decline in home and garden ownership among the new generation and its impact on gardening sales.

Scott said: "The fact that less people own properties and gardens is only part of the problem. The key reason is the change in people's attitudes and how they choose to spend their leisure time - be it eating out, visiting the cinema, going on holiday or visiting public gardens that they'll enjoy and appreciate but not have to maintain.

"That doesn't mean they don't appreciate or want an attractive garden but that their time is more limited and that it needs to be lower-maintenance. As such, we've developed Garden Centre 2020, a new-look garden centre for the next decade, which will blend the best of traditional centres with a new, fun presentation. We want to create a destination to offer experiential products and services along with a wider specialist range for committed and seasoned gardeners."

The first hub of the centre features plants, ideas and information, a kitchen and farm shop, garden restaurant and children's experience. The three product zones aligned adjacent to these experiential hubs are core gardening to the right, home-ware and concessions to the left and outdoor plants occupying the central part of the store.

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