Horticulture Week Top 100 Garden Centres 2016

The unique Horticulture Week Top 100 Garden Centres looks at the turnover of individual garden centres, supplied either by garden centre groups or estimated by Horticulture Week.

Longacres garden centre
Longacres garden centre

This year has seen the biggest single sites raise turnover through expanding and honing their offer to take advantage of footfall when it is there, and to more than tick over when gardening weather is poor.

The south-east of England dominates the top of the list. New entries come from old faces Notcutts and Dobbies, which have upped turnover at modern sites. Tong Garden Centre is the stand-out riser, the Yorkshire sleeping giant having been revamped by new owners. But the lack of new entries shows how new builds have dried up, with big expenditure on new sites not paying off, as perhaps shown by Tesco's near £50m write-down of Dobbies' centres last year. But revamps are rife, with a dozen or more entries improving their restaurants in particular, with car parks, children's play and concession extensions the next most popular plans.

Dobbies' near identikit styling means it is the top group in the list, with Blue Diamond and Notcutts increasing high-turnover sites and Wyevale losing some entries. Figures from last year's edition (HW, 29 May 2015) are shown in brackets.

1 Longacres
Bagshot, Surrey
£20.5m (£18m)
See box, p28.

2 Bents Garden & Home
Glazebury, Cheshire
£20m (£16.294m)
See box, above.

3 Barton Grange
Preston, Lancashire
£16.5m (£13.6m)
See box, above.

4 Woodcote Green Garden Centre & Nurseries
Wallington, Surrey
Est £16m (£14.8m)
Sold to Wyevale Garden Centres in January. Phil Barnden remains general
manager. Garden Retail & Garden Industry Awards 2015 large garden centre
winner. HW estimate.

5 Webbs
Wychbold, Worcestershire
£13.8m (£12.76m)
Now run by Ed Webb, the garden centre is part of the Tillington buying
group. Facilities on site include a play area for children and a picnic

6 Scotsdales Garden Centre
£13.4m (£12m)
Another Garden Retail & Garden Industry Awards winner, this family
garden centre run by Caroline Owen has served Cambridge and district
gardeners for more than 40 years. Now has two satellite sites at
Horningsea and Fordham that turnover £3m each, taking the group to
more than £20m. Scotsdales is also part of Tillington buying
group, which now turns over £200m-plus.

7 Van Hage
Great Amwell, Hertfordshire
£12.63m (£12.7m)
This is Van Hage's flagship site. Chris Roberts runs the company and
Martin Taylor is retail director. Van Hage Chenies turns over £3.37m and Van Hage Peterborough turns over £3.78m.

8 Burford Garden Company
Est £12.2m (£12.2m)
Nigel Johnson founded this Cotswolds-based high-end centre in the 1980s.
Paul Gingell is managing director. HW estimate.

9 Hayes Garden World
£11.4m (£10.81m)
Lake District destination garden centre managed by Keith Laird.

10 Chessington Garden Centre
£11m (£10.7m)
Run by Jolyon Martin in the Surrey green belt.

11 Dobbies Garden World
£10.88m (£10.7m)
Dobbies' annual group sales are £142m. Andy King is managing
director at the 36-centre chain bought by Tesco in 2007. Steve Guy is
buying director. Dobbies was due to be sold at the time of going to

12 Polhill Garden Centre
Sevenoaks, Kent
Est £10.64m (£10.634m)
Owned by the Novells and situated in Sevenoaks, this garden centre has
now been established for more than 30 years. HW estimate.

13 Otter Nurseries
Ottery St Mary, Devon
Est £10.4m (£10.4m)
Founder Malcolm White and the directors are family members. Other Otter
outlets include Plymouth, Torbay, Wincanton and Lymington plant centre.
HW estimate.

14= Gordale Garden & Home Centre
£10m (£9.5m)
Set in 15 acres in the Wirral. Run by the Nicholson family.

14= Ruxley Manor Garden Centre
Sidcup, Kent
£10m (£9.4m)
Also offers lifestyle products and dining, Run by the Evans family.

16 Whitehall Garden Centre
Lacock, Wiltshire
£9.705m (£8.633m)
Also has a site at Whitchurch in Bristol with a £2.398m turnover
(up from £2.079m) Owned by the Self family and part of the
Tillington buying group.

17 Alton Garden Centre
£9.225m (£8.511m)
Owner Derek Bunker founded this Essex centre in 1971 and now employs 11
members of his extended family among the staff. Bunker's son, Andy, is a
mainstay in the Tillington buying group set-up.

18 Blue Diamond Trentham Garden Centre
£9.1m (£8.981m)
Blue Diamond now runs a total of 15 garden centres.

19 Haskins Garden Centre
Ferndown, Dorset
£9m (£10m)
Julian Winfield is chief executive and Matt Hill is manager. Turnover
across all four Haskins centres is around £30m.

20 Haskins Roundstone
West Sussex
£8.8m (£9.5m)
Newly redeveloped after being bought in 2000. Nick Joad is the centre's

21 Wisley Plant Centre
Woking, Surrey
£8.65m (£5m)
Ross McEwan heads the plant centre at RHS Garden Wisley. Figures to year
end 2015 now include the gift and book shop as well as the centre.
Wisley's whole retail operation will be redeveloped next year.

22 Brigg Garden Centre
£8.52m (£7.842m)
See box, left.

23 Frosts at Woburn Sands
Milton Keynes
£8.5m (£8m)
Four centres are run by the Frost family - Jeremy, Rupert and James.

24 Haskins West End
£8.1m (£9m)
Conna Powles is group buying director at Haskins.

25 Wyevale Cadbury
Est £8m (Est £11m)
See box, below.

26 Perrywood Garden Centre
£7.82m (£6.86m)
Garden centre and nursery run by Alan, Karin and their son Simon Bourne
along with daughter Hannah Powell.

27 Garsons Esher
£7.785m (£9.564m)
From April 2015 to March 2016. Sales exclude VAT, concessions and
franchises at the site, which covers restaurants, because these are
operated by Compass UK. The Esher site includes a large pick your own
farm, which is also excluded from these figures. A new restaurant that
fully opened in February 2016 saw a 115 per cent year-on-year sales
increase in the first month.

28 Squire's Badshot Lea Garden Centre
West Sussex
£7.55m (£7.4m)
Squire's took over the running of this centre from the Caffyn Parsons
family back in 2006. Squire's now runs a total of 15 centres.

29 Redfields
Fleet, Hampshire
£7.4m (£6.395m)
Now fully rebuilt after Blue Diamond bought the centre from the Goater
family in 2010.

30 Stewarts
Christchurch, Dorset
£7.327m (£7.033m)
Martin Stewart has been managing director since 1982. Stewarts has two
south coast centres. The second, at Broomhill, has a turnover of more
than £2m. In 2013 the turnover at Christchurch was £6.594m.

31 Blue Diamond St Peter's Garden Centre
£7.2m (£7.109m)
Jersey's biggest garden centre, St Peter's is owned by Guernsey-based
Blue Diamond. The top Blue Diamond centres are: Redfields (£7.4m),
Grosvenor (£7m), Derby (£5.5m), Newbridge (£4.9m - 11
months' trade post-acquisition), Evesham (£4.9m), Brambridge Park
(£4.6m) and Trelawney (£4m).

32 Aylett Nurseries
St Albans, Hertfordshire
£7.041m (£6.9m)
Run by Julie Aylett and Adam Wigglesworth. Figures are for the year
ending 31 October 2015.

33 Grosvenor
£7m (£6.812m)
Run by Blue Diamond since April 2012. The centre is owned by the Duke of

34 Hollybush Garden Centre & Aquaria
Est £6.96m (£6.957m)
Family-owned garden established in 1982. The 20-acre site includes a
cafe, licensed restaurant and shopping village. Steve Hallett is general
manager. HW estimate.

35 Squire's Twickenham Garden Centre
£6.95m (£6.85m)
Martin Breddy is the new managing director. Darran Oakley is head of
buying for the Squire's group.

36 Wyevale Endsleigh
Ivybridge, Devon
Est £6.8m (Est £8.5m)
One of the seven formerly French-owned Garden & Leisure group centres.
HW estimate. Top Wyevale centres are: Altrincham, Andover, Ashford
Barnstaple, Barnett Hill, Bicester Avenue, Birchencliffe, Bolton,
Braintree, Bridgemere, Brighton, Cadbury, Cadnam, Canterbury, Chartham,
Cardiff, Carr Gate, Endsleigh, Enfield, Fair Oak, Gardenlands,
Gloucester, Gosforth, Heighley Gate, Hereford, Huntingdon, John Browns,
Lechlade, Leicester Rowena, Marple, Melbicks, Northampton, Old Barn,
Pennine, Percy Thrower, Podington, Raglan, Ramsgate, Rugby, Sanders,
Shenstone, Springfield, Stockton, Swansea, Telford, Woodbridge,
Woodlands and World's End.

37 Wentworth Garden Centre
South Yorkshire
£6.762m (£6.156m)
Occupies a 6.4ha site in an historic conservation village. Tony Airey is
the owner.

38= Blue Diamond Le Friquet
£6.5m (£6.634m)
A doughnut-shaped garden centre on the Channel Islands that opened in

38= Huntingdon Garden & Leisure
Est £6.5m (Est £8.12m)
Store opened in 2002 and occupies an 8ha site. HW estimate.

40 Dobbies Garden World
£6.35m (£6.79m)
Centre opened in 2010.

41 Forest Lodge Garden Centre
Farnham, Surrey
Est £6.335m (£6.335m)
Run by the Head family under the Denys E Head company name. Simon Hughes
is general manager. HW estimate.

42 Dobbies Garden World
£6.23m (£6.02m)
Overlooking Ochil Hills.

43 Notcutts Woodford Park
£6.1m (£5.6m)
Notcutts bought the site in 2008 as part of its £14.5m acquisition
of six garden centres.

44= Gordon Rigg Garden Centre
Walsden, Todmorden
£6m (£6.3m)
Group has another £4m-turnover site in Rochdale.

44= Bridgemere Nursery & Garden World
Est £6m (Est £7.5m)
Bought by Wyevale from John Ravenscroft for £15m in 2006.
HW estimate.

44= Woodlands Nursery & Garden Centre
Est £6m (Est £7.6m)
Wyevale bought this destination garden centre and nursery for £9.65m in 2002. HW estimate.

44= Bicester Garden Centre
Est £6m (Est £6.98m)
Centre was revamped in 2013 after beginning in 1976 as a nursery. Bought
by Blooms of Bressingham in 2000. HW estimate.

44= Heighley Gate Nursery & Garden Centre
Morpeth, Northumberland
Est £6m (Est £6.98m)
David Lishman established this centre in 1963 and sold it to Wyevale in
2008. HW estimate.

44= World's End Garden Centre
Wendover, Buckinghamshire
Est £6m (Est £6.65m)
World's End was bought from the Economic Forestry Group in 1995. The
late Jim Bone and Len Bone founded the centre in 1970. Wyevale is now
the owner. HW estimate.

50 Highfield Garden World
£5.979m (£5.455m)
Owned by the Greenway family and recently revamped. Turnover projected
to the end of June.

51= Downtown Garden Centre
Boston, Lincolnshire
Est £5.9m (£5.9m)
Founded in 2000 as part of a group of the Isaac family's Oldrids
department and furniture stores and built to complement the site. Paul
Marsh is the store manager.
HW estimate.

51= Frosts Millets Farm
West Oxfordshire
£5.9m (£5.6m)
Family farm owned by brothers Nigel and Tony Carter before being sold to

53 Dobbies Garden World
£5.88m (£5.72m)
Dobbies branch that opened in March 2004.

54 Dobbies Garden World
£5.75m (£5.32m)
Large garden centre covering some 52 acres.

55 Haskins Garden Centre Snowhill
West Sussex
£5.7m (£6.9m)
Extensively updated over the past few years.

56 Coolings Garden Centre
Knockholt, Kent
£5.699m (£5.4m)
Now more than 100 years old. Paul Cooling is chairman. Main site at
Rushmore Hill had a core garden centre turnover of £5.7m. Nearby
Green & Pleasant took £1.225m.

57 Dobbies Garden World
£5.52m (£5.39m)
Previously voted best garden centre in Scotland by The Sun.

58 Blue Diamond Derby Garden Centre
Little Eaton
£5.5m (£4.821m)
Newly refurbished since acquisition by Blue Diamond Group.

59 Notcutts Norwich Garden Centre
£5.5m (£5.1m)
Managed by Steve Boon.

60 Dobbies Garden World
£5.45m (£5.34m)
Includes farm food hall, retail gallery, restaurant and patio area.

61 Dobbies Garden World
£5.40m (£5.42m)
Destination garden centre located in the Cotswolds.

62 Dobbies Garden World
£5.29m (£5.27m)
Hosts events and activities to get children interested in gardening.

63= Raemoir Garden Centre
Est £5.2m (£5.2m)
HW estimate.

63= Paradise Park
Newhaven, East Sussex
Est £5.2m (£5.2m)
Centre owned by Tates of Sussex. HW estimate.

63= Dobbies Garden World
£5.2m (£5.25m)
Food hall offers local produce.

63= Trago Mills
Newton Abbot, Devon
Est £5.2m (£5.2m)
Peter Davies is the store manager. HW estimate.

67 Dobbies Garden World
£5.15m (£5.22m)
Store managed by John Paterson.

68= Notcutts Garden Pride
Ditchling, West Sussex
£5.1m (£5.2m)
Sold to Notcutts in December 2013.

68= Frosts Willington
£5.1m (£4.7m)
Founded by Isaac Godber.

70 Monkton Elm
Taunton, Somerset
Est £5.1m (£5.097m)
Run by Mike Lind. HW estimate.

71 Dobbies Garden World
Lisburn, Northern Ireland
£5.03m (£5.16m)
Dobbies' only store in Ireland.

72= Dobbies Garden World
Ponteland, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
£5.01m (£4.86m)
Paul Travis Anderson is manager.

73 Houghton Hall Garden Centre
£5m (£5.04m)
Owned by Klondyke.

74= Tong Garden Centre New
Bradford, Yorkshire
£5m (£3.7m)
See box, above.

74= Notcutts Wheatcroft Garden Centre
£5m (£4.3m)
Managed by Steve Cole.

74= Sanders Garden World
Est £5m (Est £5.91m)
Sir Tom Hunter bought the site for Wyevale in 2007. HW estimate.

77= Blue Diamond Newbridge Nurseries
Newbridge, West Sussex
£4.9m (£4.766m)
Bought in January 2015. Figures for 11 months post acquisition.

77= Blue Diamond Evesham Garden Centre
£4.9m (£4.627m)
Set in Evesham Country Park.

79 Dobbies Garden World
£4.87m (£4.88m)
Store manager is Elaine Faulds.

80 Dobbies Garden World
£4.84m (£4.86m)
Restaurant has views over planteria.

81 Dobbies Garden World
Milton Keynes
£4.83m (£4.73m)
Managed by Mark Shergold.

82 Planters Garden Centre
Tamworth, Staffordshire
£4.82m (£4.27m)
See box, above.

83 St Peters Garden Centre
£4.72 (£4.3m)
Managed by Will Blake, owned by Tony Blake.

84= Melbicks Garden & Leisure
Est £4.7m (Est £6.37m)
One of Garden & Leisure's seven centres, bought by Wyevale in 2014. HW

84= Stephen H Smith's Garden & Leisure
Otley, West Yorkshire
Est £4.7m (Est £4.7m)
HW estimate.

86 Dobbies Garden World
Ashford, Kent
£4.69m (£4.9m)
Dobbies first new-format store in England. Opened in 2011.

87 Blue Diamond Brambridge Park Garden Centre
Eastleigh, Hampshire
£4.6m (£4.28m)
Planteria incorporates inspirational show gardens.

88 Notcutts Tunbridge Wells Garden Centre New
Managed by Anne O'Hare.

89 Baytree Garden Centre
£4.5m (£4.5m)
Figures similar to previous year.

90 Smiths Garden Centre New
New Denham, Middlesex
Run by Peter Hewitt.

91 Gates Nurseries & Garden Centre
Est £4.4m (£4.4m)
HW estimate.

92 Dobbies Garden World New
Managed by Neil Pickard.

93 Dobbies Garden World
£4.34m (£4.18m)
Tony Cuthbert is store manager.

94 Dobbies Garden World
£4.23m (£4.11m)
Managed by Mark Brown.

95 Flowerland Home & Garden
£4.2m (£4.7m)
Hugh Evans is managing director.

96 Notcutts Maidstone Garden Centre New
Jon Kemp is store manager.

97 Dobbies Garden World New
Managed by Andy Tyas.

98 Notcutts Oxford Garden Centre New
Offers a soil-testing service.

99 Notcutts Solihull Garden Centre New
West Midlands
Nic Perrett is store manager.

100 Garsons Titchfield
£4.023m (£4.497m)
Sister centre to Garsons Esher. Not including concession restaurant.
Figures for April 2015-March 2016.

Bubbling under

- Newbank Garden Centres, Radcliffe, Lancashire

£4.8m New.

Part of a £9.5 million (ex vat) four centre group).

- Blue Diamond Trelawney Garden Centre Cornwall
£4m New

- Peter Barratt's Gosforth
Est £4m (Est £4.71m)
Owned by Wyevale. HW estimate.

- Peter Barratt's Stockton
Est £4m (Est £4.97m)
Owned by Wyevale. HW estimate.

- Gordon Rigg Garden Centre Rochdale
£4m New

- Blooms Gloucester
Est £4m (Est £4.8m)
Owned by Wyevale. HW estimate.

- Northampton Garden Centre Northamptonshire
Est £4m (Est £4.78m)
Owned by Wyevale. HW estimate.

- Frensham Garden Centre Surrey
£3.5m New
Forecasts £4.5m in 2017.


1 Longacres

A multiple Garden Retail & Garden Industry Awards winner renowned for value, floristry and range. The owner is Nigel Long, whose father, Peter, bought the site more than 30 years ago. The centre features a restaurant, food hall, butcher and delicatessen. Longacres bought a second site in Shepperton in late 2013 that may enter this chart next year. Turnover figure does not include catering, which is run as a concession.

Longacres' Mike Ainley says online sales go from strength to strength, while smartening up internal signage and retail standards has been a focus over the past year to make the vast Bagshot centre an easier place to shop. But the biggest emphasis is "focus on the customer". While most businesses say the customer is king, Longacres says they are "masters of the universe".

2 Bents Garden & Home

Cheshire garden centre run by Matthew Bent along with other members of the Bent family. It was recently expanded with new concessions and is renowned for its home-grown plants, homemade food and department store feel.

In 2015 Bents opened a new phase in its expansion, with six new retail departments launching. Trespass/Nevis Sports, C-Crafts, a cook shop, food hall and children's boutique opened in units ranging from 300 to 900sqm. There is also a new Caffe nel Verde in the old food hall, bringing the dining options up to five.

Following that was the innovative 500sq m Pet Place, including a pet deli, shop and spa cafe. The latest addition to the Dining at Bents experience brings a touch of the Mediterranean to the Warrington-based garden and home centre, with a new wine-tasting area now open in its food hall.

3 Barton Grange

Owned by the Toppings, this garden centre situated by a canal in Brock, near Preston, was opened by Princess Anne in 2008, replacing a previous store that was 2km further down the road. Russell Winteridge is manager. Turnover is to 31 January 2015.

Barton Grange recently won Garden Centre Association destination garden centre of the year for a fourth year in a row. Plans have been submitted for a leisure development on site including a curling rink, tenpin bowling, crazy golf, kayak sale and hire, a cinema and two restaurants.

22 Brigg Garden Centre

Owned by Charles and Robert Stubbs. The British Garden Centres label now comprises Arcadia Garden Centre in Middlesbrough, Cleveland; Brigg Garden Centre in north-east Lincolnshire; Chapel Garden Centre in Lincolnshire; Gilberdyke Garden Centre in East Yorkshire; Irton Garden Centre in Scarborough, North Yorkshire; Roxton Garden Centre in Bedfordshire; Spring Garden Centre in Hornsea, East Yorkshire; Towneley Garden Centre in Burnley, Lancashire; and Woodthorpe Garden Centre in Alford, Lincolnshire.

Woodthorpe and Spring are both close to the £4m mark but not quite there yet. Spring has just undergone a massive extension and refit and therefore will be above the £4m for 2016, according to the group. A new outlet is East Durham Garden Centre (formerly Plants R Ross), a small nursery-style centre that will be developing shortly.

25 Wyevale Cadbury

Taken over by Wyevale Garden Centres in 2014 as part of the purchase of the seven-centre Garden & Leisure group. Figures are HW estimates because Wyevale will not release new results until June and declined to provide its forecast. Concession space has replaced areas of the destination centre, leading to the lower estimate this year. Wyevale has one of the highest gross margins in the industry and its strategy of consolidating suppliers and renting out space means its EBITDA remains positive, even if footfall drops, prices rise or sales stay flat.

74= Tong Garden Centre

Tong Garden Centre in Bradford was set up in 1984 and rebuilt in 2000 following a fire. By 2001 the new centre, still Yorkshire's biggest, turned over £7m but subsequently declined to about half that in 2014. Now bouncing back, turnover is set to reach £6.5m-£7m in the next year.

Owners Tom Megginson and Mark Farnsworth bought the 7ha centre freehold from Ron Harker through agent Ernest Wilson in May 2015.

In addition to refurbishing the Orchard Restaurant they have remerchandised the planteria, created a new cafe and food hall, built a children's adventure playground and cafe, introduced concessions and refurbished all areas of the centre. They also own several other businesses, including two William's Farm Kitchens and a biogas plant.

82 Planters Garden Centre

The site saw nine per cent growth on garden centre turnover and 33 per cent growth in the restaurant in 2015. The restaurant traded from a temporary facility for the first three months of the year, giving a negative impact on both restaurant and garden centre figures, so the growth all happened in the last nine months of the year.

The new 350-seat restaurant opened at the end of April. It cost £1.3m and has open plan kitchens, a pizza oven, a separate 50-seat coffee shop, farmhouse kitchen catering for dog owners, new play area for children and a large 100-seat patio area linked to the restaurant with bifold doors. Sister site Bretby saw turnover rise 12 per cent to £2.7m.

Biggest riser

21 Wisley Plant Centre

Garden centre at RHS Garden Wilsey now turning over £8.65m

Tong Garden Centre 74=
Notcutts Tunbridge Wells 88
Smiths Garden Centre 90
Dobbies Perth 92
Notcutts Maidstone 96
Dobbies Southport 97
Notcutts Oxford 98
Notcutts Solihull 99

Scotland Dobbies Edinburgh
North West Bents Garden & Home
North East Brigg Garden Centre
Midlands Webbs
South West Otter Nurseries
South East Longacres

1. Dobbies 21 entries
2. Wyevale 11 entries
3. Blue Diamond 9 entries
4. Notcutts 8 entries
5. Haskins 4 entries

Bents Garden & Home 2
Barton Grange 3
Burford Garden Company 8
Hayes Garden World 9
Chessington Garden Centre 10
Polhill Garden Centre 12
Gordale Garden & Home Centre 14=
Ruxley Manor Garden Centre 14=

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