Garden Retail Power 100 2015

Industry consolidation, chief executives moving jobs and the rise of internet shopping have led to a record number of new entrants in this year's list of major players in the garden retail sector, Matthew Appleby reports.

Carol Paris, Chief executive, HTA
Carol Paris, Chief executive, HTA

This year has seen a significant shake-up in the Garden Retail Power 100. Consolidation in the industry and a churn of chief executives at the big chains mean there are more newcomers than ever in this year's list - more than 20.

The continuing rise of internet garden shopping and the incursions into the industry of high street retailers have also driven the arrival of new faces in the list, while pressures such as legislation on chemicals, wages and Sunday trading mean that lobbyists and policy formers are more important than ever in the garden retail sector.

The Power 100 is a Garden Retail view with input from industry watchers, so it is open to debate. Please email with your views on this year's list.

- New entries shown in orange numbers

1. Carol Paris, Chief executive, HTA

Became full-time HTA chief executive in 2013 and has continued to build strong co-operation across the garden industry through her influence on key cross-sector initiatives. These include the Garden Industry Marketing Board's Love the Plot You've Got campaign and the Defra-sponsored Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Action Plan. Recent significant Government moves to update Sunday trading, the minimum wage and more will be focuses over the next 12 months.

2. Guy Hands, Owner, Terra Firma

Hands will decide the future of Wyevale Garden Centres in the next year or two, as he moves towards the sale of his 2013 £276m investment, which has grown to 149 centres. Stephen Murphy is Terra Firma chairman, Kevin Bradshaw is chief operating officer and Dan Zinner is the company's purchasing director.

3. Steve Pitcher, Seasonal director, B&Q

Pitcher moved to DIY/garden centre giant B&Q from Wyevale in 2014 and since then has appointed several former Wyevale buyers under him, including Tim Clapp. Michael Loeve is chief executive at B&Q and Veronique Laury is chief executive of the chain's parent company, Kingfisher.

4. Echo Lu, Chief executive, Homebase

Replaced Paul Loft in 2015. Jon Kemp is gardening/DIY trading director and Andy Goddard is gardening buyer.

5. Edward Conroy, Joint managing director, Westland Horticulture

Bought Sinclair this year and owns brands including Unwins and Cranswick as well. Has an interest in Crest Garden. Latest turnover is £106m. Keith Nicholson is marketing director.

6. Paris Natar, Majority stakeholder, Smart Solar

Smart Garden is probably the fastest-growing supplier in the garden centre market, with Natar leading the push. Jonathan Stobart is company founder. Natar founded Gardman and later sold the firm in a deal worth £85m.

7. Andy King, Chief executive, Dobbies

Left Notcutts to take over at Tesco-owned Dobbies from James Barnes in 2013. Runs 35 centres - total turnover of £142m. Steve Guy is horticulture buyer.

8. Alan Roper, Managing director, Blue Diamond Group

Runs 17 garden centres. Projected annual turnover is £85m.

9. Bob Hewitt, Chief executive, Klondyke

Hewitt has overseen Britain's third-biggest chain of 24 outlets, which turns over £48.5m. Buying head David Yardley will take over from Hewitt in 2017.

10. Sheila Hill, General manager, Scotts UK

Took over from Martin Breddy in 2014. Now has Chapelwood bird food on board but has jettisoned other Solus brands bought in 2014. Turnover of the US-based company is £100m+ in the UK. Rainer Schubert is sales director.

11. Dennis Espley, Managing director, Squire's

Squire's now has 15 centres across the South East. Espley is an RHS council member. Squire's turnover is £40m+ and the head buyer is Darran Oakley. Espley will retire at the end of April 2016. His replacement has yet to be announced.

12. Nick Burrows, Chief executive, Notcutts

Replaced Andrew Staff in 2015. Was at First Sports, Thames Club, Nuffield Health, Whitbread, Rank and Holmes Place Health Clubs. Nicky Dulieu, former Hobbs chief executive and Marks & Spencer financial director, is chairman.

13. Ian Charles, Co-owner/manager, Primrose

Runs Britain's biggest online garden retailer, with projected £42m turnover by the end of this financial year.

14. Boyd Douglas-Davies, Chief executive, Hillview Group

Douglas-Davies joined the industry's fastest-growing small chain, the Hillview Group, in 2011 after spending 20 years with Webbs. He now runs nine centres, including six taken on from Garden Store in January 2014 and also founded Garden Re-Leaf Day.

15. Nick Davies, Managing director, Crest Garden

Left Solus after 29 years in late 2013 and relaunched as a supplier to garden centres with Crest for 2015, with backing from Westland.

16. Jonathan Halford, Acting chief executive officer, Gardman

Executive chairman who is running the £70m-turnover garden centre supplier after Stewart Hainsworth left earlier this year. Rutland Partners now owns and has invested in the company.

17. Gary Philpotts, Business director, Monsanto

At the forefront of the ongoing fight to keep chemical controls such as glyphosate on retailers' shelves as chair of the Crop Protection Association Garden Group.

18. Richard Jackson, Gardening presenter, QVC

As well as being presenter, Jackson is the biggest supplier to the biggest television gardening shopping channel, US-owned giant QVC. He is one of the principal organisers of Garden Re-Leaf Day for the Greenfingers charity, which he founded. Also founded the Garden Press Event.

19. Chris Francis, Director, Hillier Garden Centres

Overseeing the development of Hillier's 12 garden centres having moved from Wyevale. Andy McIndoe is managing director. Andrew West is head of buying.

20. Emma Coupe, Horticulture buyer, Waitrose

Coupe took over buying for Waitrose in 2014 and has rolled out a horticulture range across 167 garden "pods".

21. Peter Clay, Director, Crocus

Crocus fulfils shared portal offerings for organisations such as the RHS and Waitrose, and runs its owns transactional garden website.

22. Raoul Curtis-Machin, Head of horticulture, HTA

Curtis Machin looks after retail and ornamental committees to feed into his lobbying and policy roles covering areas such as Sunday trading, employment legislation, peat and pesticides.

23. Tim Clapp, Horticulture and garden care lead buyer, B&Q

Moved from Wyevale in 2014 to develop B&Q's plant range.

24. Bryan Magrath, Chief executive, Thompson & Morgan

Pushing through the sale of T&M by owner Primary Capital. Paul Hansord is managing director of the supplier/retailer. Turnover is £31m.

25. Peter McDermott, Managing director, YouGarden

McDermott is a multichannel garden retailer who set up YouGarden and Shopping@Home in 2012. He sold Lead the Good Life in 2011. Martin Rowe is his horticultural director. Now supplying shopping television channel Ideal World, replacing Thompson & Morgan.

26. Caroline Owen, Managing director, Scotsdales

A past president of the HTA, Owen now runs Scotsdales, a group of three garden centres.

27. Alan Titchmarsh, Television gardener

Presents garden makeover show Love Your Garden on ITV and is the face of Waitrose's gardening range.

28. Julian Winfield, Chief executive, Haskins Garden Centres

Runs the £30m+ turnover four Haskins centres. Will be appointed as the next chairman of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) in January 2016. Conna Powles is buying director and Warren Haskins is chairman.

29. Iain Wylie, Chief executive, Garden Centre Association

The former Grosvenor managing director served as GCA interim chief executive for a year before landing the job on a full-time basis.

30.= Mike Gilbert, Director, Gilbert Evans

Seller of bigger garden centres.

30.= Simon Quinton-Smith, Director, Quinton Edwards

Prolific seller of garden centres and nurseries.

32. John Fothergill/David Carey, Joint managing directors, Mr Fothergill's

The pair run seed firm Mr Fothergill's and both are sons of company founders.

33.= Paul Pleydell, Director, Pleydell Smithyman

Working in strategy, planning, delivery and experiential retailing.

33.= Malcolm Scott, Director, Malcolm Scott Consultants

Scott is the voice of planning and garden centres.

35. Peter Seabrook, Garden writer

Seabrook writes the country's most-read gardening page, with The Sun claiming 10 million readers of his column printed every Saturday.

36. Ian Riggs, Business and commercial development director, Jersey Plants Direct

Well-known face who is influential in the bedding and wider horticulture industry.

37. Matthew Bent, Managing director, Bents Garden & Home

Runs one of Britain's biggest and best garden centres, which has recently undergone an expansion.

38. Andy Bunker, Director, Alton Garden Centre

Alton Garden Centre is part of the Tillington Group - including Bents, Frost and Webbs - which has a turnover approaching £200m. Bunker buys plants, compost and trees at the garden centre, which turns over £8m+.

39. Guy Topping, Managing director, Barton Grange

Topping's £15m Barton Grange remains the state-of-the-art centre that many aspire to emulate. It retained the GCA best destination centre title again at the association's 2014 conference. Russell Winteridge is general manager.

40. Vicky Nuttall, Director, Garden Industry Manufacturers Association

Former Forest marketing head Vicky Nuttall took over from Neil Gow as GIMA director in 2013.

41. Stan Green, Managing director, Growforth

Green heads Scotland's biggest supplier of plants to garden centres. He is also president of the HTA.

42. Sir Terry Leahy, Chairman, B&M

Former Tesco boss who in this list represents bargain stores' expansion into gardening.

43. Monty Don, Television gardener

Presents RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage as well as Gardeners' World for the BBC.

44. James Frost, Director, Frosts Garden Centres

Family-run Frosts has a £30m turnover.

45. Darran Oakley, Head of buying, Squire's

Also a negotiator at the Tillington Group.

46. Adam Wigglesworth, Director, Ayletts Garden Centre and Aylett Nurseries

Wigglesworth runs Ayletts Garden Centre and Aylett Nurseries with his wife Julie and is also HTA vice-chairman.

47. Guy Moreton, Director, More People

Moreton is the recruitment and training consultant to whom many in the garden retail industry turn when they are seeking to change jobs.

48. Sue Biggs, Director-general, RHS

Biggs placed retail as one of the seven central tenets of RHS activity when she restructured in 2010.

49. Keith McIntyre/Ian Silverton, Directors, First Franchise

The pair have transformed garden centres physically and financially by adding hundreds of franchises to chains.

50. Dougal Philip, Owner, Hopetoun Gardens

As well as running his garden centre in West Lothian, Scotland, Philip is chairman of Perennial and served as an RHS council member until 2014.

51. Jon Kitching, Co-owner, Beckworth Emporium

Rolling out the Beckworth food/gardening hybrid centre to Andover and beyond with Neville Prest, Charles Good and Salim Sajid. HPW is designing the new centres.

52. Ken Cox, Managing director, Glendoick Garden Centre

Plant hunter and rhododendron expert, Cox's centre has won multiple Garden Retail Awards.

53. Chris Roberts, Managing director, Van Hage

Van Hage's turnover is £17m at its sites in Great Amwell, Chenies and Peterborough Garden Park. Martin Taylor is group retail director.

54. Jon Kemp, Homebase gardening/DIY trading director

Andy Goddard is horticulture category manager and Jane Templar is plant buying manager at the DIY/gardening retail chain.

55. Tammy Woodhouse, Managing director, Millbrook Garden Company

Woodhouse now runs three garden centres - Millbrook, Staplehurst and Crowborough.

56. Beryl Henderson, Owner, North One and West Six Garden Centres

Garden centre of the year winner in the Garden Retail Awards for West Six, Henderson is ahead of the game when it comes to urban retailing and appealing to younger customers. Was first in the UK to drop stocking of glyphosate.

57. Charles Stubbs, Owner, British Garden Centres

Workaholic Stubbs owns eight garden centres with his brother Robert.

58. Martin Stewart, Owner, Stewarts Garden Centre

Stewart remains an influential figure in the GCA. His Stewarts centres turn over around £10m.

59. Steve Guy, Horticulture head buyer, Dobbies

Was previously a buyer at B&Q.

60. Paul Cooling, Chairman, Coolings

Cooling owns the two Coolings Kent garden centres while Gary Carvosso is managing director.

61. David Little, Managing director, Poplars Garden Centre

Future GCA chairman (2016-17) as well as the association's current treasurer.

62. James Wong, Ethnobotanist and television presenter

Behind the Homegrown Revolution range sold by Suttons. Wong presents on Countryfile as well as other shows.

63. Dan Zinner, Trading director, Wyevale Garden Centres

Previously worked at Clicks Group.

64. Mike Burks, Managing director, Gardens Group

Burks is the joint founder of Gardens Group, which has three centres in Dorset and Somerset.

65. David Robinson, Sales and marketing director, Suttons Seeds

Completed management buyout of Suttons with Rufus Roberts in 2014.

66. Colin Wetherley Mein, Retail sales manager, Vitax

Elected Garden Industry Manufacturers Association president earlier this year.

67. Gez Smith, Senior buyer, JTF

Previously with MBL, Lead the Good Life and Focus, Smith is now at membership shopping club JTF.

68. Matt Mein, Director, Glee

Long-serving Glee trade exhibition staff member Matt Mein was promoted to replace Nick Davison as the show's director in 2013.

69. Will Armitage, Managing director, Armitage's

Armitage runs two West Yorkshire centres and is 2014-15 GCA chairman. Sold the centres to Wyevale in 2015.

70. Neville Stein, Managing director, Ovation

Business development consultant for the horticultural trade.

71. Christine Walkden, Television gardener

Down-to-earth Walkden is seen by more viewers than any other television gardener as gardening presenter on The One Show.

72. Chris Collins, Children's gardener

Collins is a former Blue Peter gardener and a regular face in the promotion of industry initiatives.

73. Gerald Ingram, Managing director, Planters Garden Centre

Ingram runs three garden centres in the Midlands and sits on the HTA's retail committee.

74. Ian Boardman, Consultant and GCA chief inspector

Boardman is best-known for presenting detailed inspection reports at GCA conferences that always provide food for thought to members.

75. Andy McIndoe, Managing director, Hillier Nurseries & Garden Centres

Regularly represents the company at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

76. John Ashley, Chairman, Greenfingers

Industry veteran has taken over as chairman from Matthew Wilson. Also works for Scotts and Scotsdales.

77. Paul Bevington, Managing director, Kettler

Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association chairman represents the industry at the Solex trade show and beyond.

78. Alex Newey, Director, Young Plants

Newey is chairman of the HTA seasonal plants group and has bought Roundstone as well as several other garden centre plant suppliers recently.

79. Sam Bosworth, Choice Marketing chairman and Bosworth's Garden Centre owner

Buying group Choice Marketing now has a membership totalling 30 garden centres and a combined annual turnover of more than £65m. Michelle de Lavis Trafford is buyer for Choice Marketing.

80. Conna Powles, Buying director, Haskins

Oversees buying at the £30m-turnover Haskins group.

81. David Domoney, Garden designer/television gardener

Garden showman who is now wingman for lead presenter Alan Titchmarsh on ITV's Love Your Garden series.

82. David Arnold, Project manager, Garden Industry Marketing Board

Former Suttons marketing director.

83. Rachel Doyle, President, International Garden Centre Association

Runs Arboretum Lifestyle & Garden Centre in Co Carlow, Ireland.

84. Nigel Long, Managing director, Longacres

Longacres is Britain's biggest garden centre, with an £18m turnover.

85. Doug Stewart, Consultant

Works in garden centre catering and develops websites.

86. Phil Barnden, General manager, Woodcote Green Garden Centre

Inspired marketing and community projects have won Woodcote Green numerous awards.

87. Jamie Oliver, Television chef

Has promoted grow your own and schools gardening.

88. Craig Bennett, Chief executive officer, Friends of the Earth

Campaigns against chemical pest and weed control sales by garden centres.

89. Stuart Whalley, Head of buying (gardening), Blue Diamond

Group section head for gardening.

90. Simon Moore, Garden buyer, Wilkinson

Representing high street horticulture sales in hardware shops, alongside the likes of Robert Dyas. Moore is garden buyer for 372 Wilko stores.

91. Sajid Salim, Director, Blueberry Food Service

Catering adviser to garden centres.

92. Peter Burks, General manager, Fermoys Garden Centre

Former GCA president took up position at Fermoys in Devon earlier this year.

93. Caroline Linger, Head of garden, Wyevale Garden Centres.

Responsible for defining and driving strategy for the garden division.

94. David Yardley, Head of buying, Klondyke

Will take over from Bob Hewitt at the head of the group in 2017.

95. Chris Dawson, Founder, The Range

The billionaire owns more than 100 home-and-garden stores.

96. Keith Laird, Retail manager, Hayes Garden World

Laird is buyer for outdoor living for the Tillington Group and runs the landmark Lake District Hayes centre.

97. Eve Tigwell, Garden centre consultant

Tigwell works internationally as a garden centre consultant.

98. Toby Buckland, Owner, Toby Buckland Nurseries

Former Gardeners' World presenter.

99. Derek Jarman, Owner, Hayloft Plants

Influential in mail-order plants world.

100. Ian Richardson, Director, Garsons

Pick your own and farm shops have made two-centre Garsons' name. Alison Jones is the company's plant buyer and Gary Hayman buys sundries.

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