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 email@example.com 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
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
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
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
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
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
The recruitment and training consultant to whom many in the garden retail industry turn when they are seeking to change jobs.
49 Sue Biggs
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
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
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
Presents Love Your Garden on ITV and is the face of Waitrose’s gardening range.
73 Chris Collins
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
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
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 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
Pick your own and farm shops have made two-centre Garsons’ name.
BIGGEST GARDEN CENTRE GROUPS