Haskins searches for new centre following successful 2009

Finding a new centre has been made a priority by Haskins after it saw sales rise 6% in 2009.

Chief executive Julian Winfield said: "We are viewing properties within a three-hour drive from our head office [in Ferndown, Dorset] that are at least 10 acres, well located and fit with demographic research supplied by CACI."

The company has been looking for a new centre since buying Snowhill Garden Centre near Crawley in 2003, but prices have since rocketed due to Wyevale's expansion. The £30m-turnover business also has centres in Bournemouth, Southampton and Worthing.

Haskins is looking for an established garden centre or brown field site with the potential of planning consent for a new build project. Last year the company spent £2.5m to extend the restaurant at its Ferndown centre, which was built in 1994.

Meanwhile, Haskins had to shut its Worthing centre last week because of heavy snow. But retail operations director Philip Evason said wild bird care sales had been "huge" over the holidays and its restaurants had done well.

But he reported that plants were not selling. "No one is even thinking about gardening," he said. Evason explained that new supplies were difficult to find because of transport problems caused by the heavy snow.

Wholesaler Solus marketing manager Dean Winters also said wild bird care sales had taken off. He explained: "There has been a huge increase. It's like turning on a tap once it gets cold."

Scotsdale garden centre managing director Caroline Owen said: "Wild bird care sales have been very good. Thank goodness something is selling well." She added that rock salt, logs and sledges are all "like gold dust".

 

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