Internet garden retailer suffers

Flying Brands loses £1.6 million in first half of 2005

Home shopping firm Flying Brands, owner of online garden retailer Gardening Direct, says bad weather cut gardening sales by £1.6 million in the first half of 2005. Gardening Direct’s sales were £9.29 million against £10.91 million last year. Group sales fell by nine per cent to £18.18 million for the first half to June, compared with £20 million in 2004. Pre-tax profits fell by 27 per cent to £2.86 million against £3.93 million. Flying Brands group chief executive Mark Dugdale said poor weather, a trend against bedding plants and the economy had worked against sales. He added: “We’re not the only ones who are suffering.” The firm, which grows 120 million plants a year in Guernsey from seed supplied by Ball Colegrave and others, had “a very disappointing first quarter with the Gardening Direct brand”. Dugdale said his competitors and garden centres were struggling and blamed inconsistent weather, TV programmes concentrating on instant gardening and the depressed retail market. But he added that replies to a questionnaire sent to all customers had shown that they intended to buy bedding plants again.

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