Gardman plans for growth

Garden chief executive Pete Utting says "bolt-ons" will help grow garden centre supplier Gardman's business.

Utting said the Peterborough-based company can grow by one-third to £100m turnover, but would need to buy linked businesses to do so.

He said there was growth in wild bird care and solar lights and that Gardman had grown by a mid single figure percentage this year.

Utting said: "That is probably sustainable over a number of years but we would like to get over £100m turnover, which will probably require acquistions. We could get from the mid £60 millions into the £80 millions through organic growth but to get over £100m we'd need bolt-ons. We have to stay true to our core principles so it wouldn;t be ferts and chems but would be around core gardening and wild bird care.

He said some businesses were struggling to make money and with Brexit likely to cause cost base to rise, "a lot of businesses might not have the for sale sign up but could be interesting for us".

Utting said the fall-out from the loss of Solus had also helped grow sales, particularly with wild bird care and tools.

He said in 2015, following a takeover by Rutland Partners and his appointment, focus was on getting customer service and stock availability up to 97 per cent on average.

See more in next issue of Horticulture Week.

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