Dulieu brings high street retail experience on move to Notcutts

Experience with Marks & Spencer and Hobbs will help drive chain forward, says Nicky Dulieu.

Dulieu: new Notcutts chairman
Dulieu: new Notcutts chairman

New Notcutts chairman Nicky Dulieu has said her high street experience with Marks & Spencer and Hobbs will help to drive the garden centre chain forward.

Dulieu, who was chief executive at fashion retailer Hobbs, said: "The high street is very competitive and had a lot more players that serve the market.

"It's a much more intense area in terms of operations and I can bring some of that best practice from the high street, so a local garden centre can really focus on local community. It's about releasing managers to be focused on the customer."

Notcutts will continue to roll out refits, such as at Tunbridge Wells and Wheatcroft, "bringing back-up to the proposition that some have lost a little bit", she added. "We aim to be the best garden centre in the area."

Dulieu, who is seeking a new recruit to replace former chief executive Andrew Staff, said Notcutts' five-year strategy is to upgrade and possibly buy. The 18-centre chain bought Garden Pride in December 2013. "But we're not looking to double the estate," she added.

Sales growth More improvement forecast

Notcutts saw 11.8 per cent growth in the five weeks to 3 January. Its website grew sales by 81 per cent, up 83 per cent year for the year.

New chairman Nicky Dulieu said growth should continue at the same rate in 2015. She added: "I launched a website at Hobbs and by the time I left it was almost 30 per cent of turnover. It's not just selling but brand engagement - the first place of contact with the business."

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