David Yardley, who replaces Bob Hewitt as chief executive on 1 January 2017, said there are two new developments planned but otherwise the group will continue to follow its five-year plan agreed by the leadership team. Hewitt becomes executive chairman in January and Klondyke is recruiting a head of buying.
Other than two planned garden centre redevelopments "there are no real major changes planned", said Yardley. "I'm part of the team that has been here for a number of years and we have a plan for the next five years which is very much in progress." He said 2016 has seen varying weather that was not always good during traditional gardening times. The group has done "very well with catering but not quite as well with gardening", he added. "It's not been a bad year."
Klondyke's Garforth Garden Centre in Leeds opened on 23 September. It has "been doing very well" since and has "good potential" from a smallish site. The new centre is built on the previous site of the group's Savilles Garden Centre, which closed in 2014. The purpose-built garden centre includes a 250-cover restaurant, craft shop and cook shop, and is the launch pad for the group's new planteria concept.
Geo Hodges was builder. The centre features new ideas such as more linked merchandised sales in the planteria. These include displaying ericaceous compost with heather, rhododendrons and azeleas; trellis and obelisks with climbers and stakes; and tree-planting compost with trees, rather than just having signs saying they are available elsewhere in store.
Yardley said the cafe is a progression of 23-garden centre Klondyke's last three or four developments, with more in-house produce and better-trained staff in areas such as coffee making.
Next for redevelopment is Edinburgh in 2017, if Klondyke secures planning permission. The head office site in Polmont, Falkirk, could follow that in a three-phase development designed to take it from 10,000sq ft to 50,000sq ft in 2017-18. Five new Klondyke delivery vans now feature the hydrangea livery from Signs Express and reference each individual garden centre location.