Garden Retail Power 100 2016

Who has made it onto our annual power listing of the most influential individuals within the world of garden retail? Matthew Appleby reports.

HTA chief executive Carol Paris
HTA chief executive Carol Paris

New owners, chief executives or strategies at the big four garden centre groups — Bunnings, B&Q, Wyevale and Dobbies — have led to a reshuffle at the top in this year’s list of major players in the garden retail sector. Among those to leave the list this year are Steve Pitcher and Echo Lu from the big DIYs as well as retirees Dennis Espley and Bob Hewitt from the independents. Others to have moved on include Andy McIndoe, Dan Zinner and Will Armitage, while newcomers include Roger Mclaughlan and John Cleland, who have come to the sector from mainstream retail. Please email with your views on this year’s list.

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 Round Table Action Plan. Efforts to expand Sunday trading were thwarted this year. The National Living Wage remains a key focus.

2 Justin King

Chairman, Wyevale Garden Centres (Terra Firma)
Former Sainsbury’s chief King is driving Wyevale’s efforts to become more customer-focused after replacing Stephen Murphy at the 153-store chain in 2015.

3 Tim Clapp 

Head of range, horticulture and garden care, Kingfisher
Moved from Wyevale in 2014 to develop B&Q’s plant range and has since been promoted to a European role to source horticulture for the group continent-wide. 

4 PJ Davis

Chief executive officer, Bunnings/Homebase
Industry veteran who has moved from Australia to the UK to run Wesfarmers’ transformation of the Homebase DIY chain into a new value-focused Bunnings group of 300-plus stores after its £340m purchase of Homebase in February 2016.

5  John Cleland

Chief executive officer, Dobbies
Former Maplin, Somerfield and B&Q boss who is leading the post-Tesco transformation of 34-centre Dobbies after its private equity purchase for £217m in July 2016.

6  Roger Mclaughlan

Chief executive officer, Wyevale Garden Centres
Former Toys R Us boss who has replaced Kevin Bradshaw at Wyevale and has the task of improving retail standards and profitability across Britain’s biggest garden centre chain, which now turns over £311m.

7  Edward Conroy

Joint managing director, Westland Horticulture
Westland Horticulture bought Sinclair last year and owns brands including Unwins and Cranswick as well. It also has an interest in Crest Garden. The company’s latest stated turnover was £96m in the eight months to August 2015. Keith Nicholson is the firm’s marketing director.

8  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.

9  Alan Roper 

Managing director, Blue Diamond Group
Runs 18 garden centres. Projected annual turnover is £85m.

10  Guy Hands

Chairman, Terra Firma 
Hands will ultimately decide whether Wyevale makes more big investment and when the chain is sold, having bought it for £276m in 2012.

11  Sheila Hill

General manager, Scotts UK
Took over from Martin Breddy in 2014. Turnover of the US-based company is £100m-plus in the UK. Rainer Schubert is sales director.

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. Chairman Nicky Dulieu, a former Hobbs chief executive and Marks & Spencer financial director, has a £45m repositioning plan for the 18-centre £67m-turnover group.

13  Martin Breddy

Managing director, Squire’s 
Former Scotts general manager who replaced Dennis Espley at 15-centre Squire’s earlier this year.

14  Ian Charles

Co-owner/manager, Primrose
Runs Britain’s biggest online garden retailer, with projected £42m turnover.

15  Boyd Douglas-Davies

Chief executive, Hillview Group
Joined the industry’s fastest-growing small chain, the £13m Hillview Group, in 2011 after spending 20 years at Webbs. He now runs nine centres, including six taken on from Garden Store in 2014, and also founded Garden Re-Leaf Day.

16  Julian Winfield

Chief executive, Haskins Garden Centres
Runs the £30m-turnover four Haskins centres and became chairman of the Garden Centre Association (GCA) in January 2016. Conna Powles is buying director at Haskins and Warren Haskins is chairman.

17  David Yardley

Managing director, Klondyke
Group operations director due to take over from Bob Hewitt for 2017 at the 22-centre chain.

18  Chris Francis

Director, Hillier Garden Centres
Overseeing the development of Hillier’s 12 garden centres having moved from Wyevale. Andrew West is head of buying.

19  Veronique Laury

Chief executive, Kingfisher
Runs the Europe-wide group that includes B&Q with a €3.4bn turnover.

20  Caroline Owen

Managing director, Scotsdales
A past president of the HTA, Owen now runs Scotsdales, a group of four garden centres at Great Shelford, Fordham, Horningsea and Soham, turning over some £20.34m.

21  Peter Utting

Chief executive, Gardman
Chief executive running the garden centre supplier after departure of Stewart Hainsworth. Rutland Partners now owns and has invested in the company. Turnover for the 47 weeks to 28 December 2014 was £56.48m.

22  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.

23  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’s Common Sense Gardening Group. 

24  Richard Jackson

Gardening television 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.

25  Peter Clay

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

26  Raoul Curtis-Machin

Head of horticulture, HTA
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.

27  Bryan Magrath

Chief executive, Thompson & Morgan
Pushing through the sale of Thompson & Morgan by owner Primary Capital. Paul Hansord is managing director of the supplier/retailer. Turnover is £31m.

28  Peter McDermott

Managing director, YouGarden
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, having replaced Thompson & Morgan.

29  Matthew Bent

Managing director, Bents Garden & Home
Runs one of Britain’s biggest and most innovative garden centres, with a £16.29m turnover that includes 1,210 restaurant covers.

30  Andy Bunker

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

31  Guy Topping

Managing director, Barton Grange
Topping’s £15m Barton Grange remains the state-of-the-art centre that many aspire to emulate. Russell Winteridge is general manager. More expansion into leisure is planned at the Lancashire site.

32  Vicky Nuttall

Director, Garden Industry Manufacturers Association
Former Forest marketing head Vicky Nuttall took over from Neil Gow as Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) director in 2013.

33  Adam Wigglesworth

Director, Ayletts Garden Centre and Aylett Nurseries
HTA chairman Adam Wigglesworth runs Ayletts Garden Centre and Aylett Nurseries with his wife Julie.

34 Emma Coupe

Horticulture buyer, Waitrose
Took over buying for Waitrose in 2014 and has rolled out a horticulture range sold from garden "pods" outside the supermarkets.

35  Iain Wylie

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

36=  Mike Gilbert

Director, Gilbert Evans
Seller of bigger garden centres.

36=  Simon Quinton-Smith

Director, Quinton Edwards
Prolific seller of garden centres and nurseries.

38  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.

39=  Paul Pleydell

Director, Pleydell Smithyman
Working in strategy, planning, delivery and experiential retailing.

39=  Malcolm Scott

Director, Malcolm Scott Consultants
Scott is the voice of planning and garden centres.

41  Peter Seabrook

Garden writer
Writes the country’s most-read gardening page, with The Sun claiming 10 million readers of his column printed every Saturday.

42  Ian Riggs

Business and commercial development director, Jersey Plants Direct
Well-known face who is influential in the bedding and wider horticulture industry. Also sells Rustic Garden goods.

43  James Frost

Director, Frosts Garden Centres
Family-run Frosts has a £30m turnover.

44 Paul Emslie

Trading/marketing director, Wyevale Garden Centres
Formerly of Homebase, appointed by Wyevale in 2016.

45  Sir Terry Leahy

Chairman, B&M
Former Tesco boss who in this list represents bargain stores’ expansion into gardening.

46  Darran Oakley

Head of buying, Squire’s
Also a negotiator at the Tillington Group. Jeremy Hall buys Squire’s plants.

47  Monty Don

Television gardener
Presents RHS Chelsea Flower Show coverage and Gardeners’ World for BBC Television as well as having numerous other media and television commitments.

48  Guy Moreton

Director, MorePeople
The recruitment and training consultant to whom many in the garden retail industry turn when they are seeking to change jobs.

49  Sue Biggs

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

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 Beckworth food/gardening hybrid to Andover and more with Neville Prest, Charles Good and Salim Sajid. 

52  Ken Cox

Managing director, Glendoick Garden Centre
Plant hunter and rhododendron expert. Has won multiple Garden Retail Awards.

53  Chris Roberts

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

54 Sarah Coldrake

Head of garden/lifestyle, Homebase
Runs garden buying at 265-store Homebase, with Martyn Hill another long-serving plant buyer.

55  Tammy Woodhouse

Managing director, Millbrook Garden Company
Woodhouse now runs three garden centres — at Gravesend, Highgrove and Crowborough.

56  Beryl Henderson

Owner, North One and West Six Garden Centres
Ahead of the game when it comes to urban retailing trends and appealing to younger customers. 

57 Charles Stubbs

Owner, British Garden Centres
Stubbs owns 10 garden centres with his brother Robert, turning over more than £24m in total.

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
Previously a buyer at B&Q and now responsible for buying at Dobbies under its new ownership.

60  Paul Cooling

Chairman, Coolings
Owns the two Coolings Kent garden centres, with Gary Carvosso as managing director.

61  David Little

Managing director, Poplars Garden Centre
Current GCA treasurer and in line to become a future chairman of the trade association.

62 Keith McIntyre/Ian Silverton

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

63  James Wong

Ethnobotanist and television presenter
Will be seen on BBC2 this autumn uncovering how plant science underpins food. Also works as a representative for Suttons and Fiskars.

64  Caroline Linger

Buyer, Wyevale Garden Centres 
Horticulture buyer for the UK’s biggest garden centre chain.

65  Mike Burks

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

66  David Robinson

Managing director, Suttons Consumer Products
Completed management buyout of Suttons with Rufus Roberts in 2014.

67  Chris Ramsden

National account manager, Hozelock 
GIMA president who moved from Suttons to Hozelock earlier this year.

68  Gez Smith

Senior buyer, JTF
Previously with MBL, Lead the Good Life and Focus.

69  Matt Mein

Director, Glee
Promoted to replace Nick Davison as the trade show’s director in 2013.

70  Conna Powles

Buying director, Haskins
Director and buying director at £30m group Haskins.

71  Neville Stein

Managing director, Ovation
Business development consultant for the horticulture trade and HW columnist.

72  Alan Titchmarsh

Television gardener
Presents Love Your Garden on ITV and is the face of Waitrose’s gardening range.

73  Chris Collins

Children’s gardener
Former Blue Peter gardener and a regular face in the promotion of industry initiatives.

74  Gerald Ingram

Managing director, Planters Garden Centre
Ingram runs three garden centres located in the Midlands and sits on the HTA’s retail committee.

75  Mary Berry

Presenter, Great British Bake Off
Many garden centres are interested in Bake Off and have expanded cookware and catering on the back of the show.

76 Andrew West 

Head of buying, Hillier
Formerly of Wyevale, now runs buying at 12-centre group Hillier.

77  John Ashley

Chairman, Greenfingers
Industry veteran Ashley has taken over from Matthew Wilson as chairman of the Greenfingers charity. He also works for Scotts and Scotsdales.

78  Paul Bevington

Managing director, Kettler
Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association chairman represents the industry at the SOLEX trade show and beyond.

79 Alex Newey

Director, Newey Group
Has bought Roundstone as well as several other garden centre plant suppliers.

80 Mark Winchester

Choice Marketing chairman and Blackbrooks Garden Centre managing director
Takes over from Tony Blake at Choice this month. Michelle de Lavis Trafford is buyer from Choice Marketing.

81  Andy Newman

Director, MDJ Associates 
Influential commentator on the garden retail sector..

82  David Domoney

Garden designer/television gardener
Garden showman who is wingman for lead presenter Alan Titchmarsh on ITV’s Love Your Garden series.

83  Sandy Shepherd

Managing director, Ball Colegrave
Increasingly promoting new bedding concepts to garden centres as well as growers at £25m-turnover plug grower and seed distributor Ball Colegrave.

84  Rachel Doyle

Immediate past president, International Garden Centre Association
Runs Arboretum Lifestyle & Garden Centre in Co Carlow, Ireland.

85  Nigel Long

Managing director, Longacres
Longacres is Britain’s biggest garden centre, with an £18m turnover.

86  Jane Lawler

Formerly of Gardman and Bayer, Lawler is now working in garden centre supplier marketing with Kelkay, Bonnington and recently Town & Country.

87  Nigel Press 

Senior garden centre buyer, B&M 
Now looking after more than 100 outlets at the discounter.

88  Charlie Dimmock

Television gardener 
Back on BBC Television as well as fronting "In the Garden with Charlie Dimmock" range for Poundland.

89  Craig Bennett

Chief executive officer, Friends of the Earth
Campaigns against chemical pest- and weed-control sales by garden centres.

90  Stuart Whalley

Head of product development (gardening and leisure), Blue Diamond Group section head for gardening.

91  Christine Walkden

Television gardener
Television presenter and gardener.

92  Sajid Salim

Director, Blueberry Food Service 
Catering adviser to garden centres.

93  Charles Farmer

Head of consumer UK, Bord na Móna
Supplies B&Q and Wyevale, among others, with growing media.

94 David White

Managing director, Home & Garden
Runs the expanding 10-garden centre group. Andy Schofield leads buying.

95  Chris Dawson

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

96  Keith Laird

Retail manager, Hayes Garden World
Tillington Group buyer for outdoors.

97 David Mitchell 

Plant buyer, Wyevale Garden Centres 
Responsible for outdoor plants.

98 Mike Ryan

Operations manager, Cherry Lane Garden Centres 
Value garden centre chain.

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.



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