Klondyke chief prepares to sign off at end of 2016

Bob Hewitt is signing off as chief executive of Klondyke at the end of this year with the 24-centre group stable and focusing on refurbishments. Hewitt left Wyevale at the "start of outside influence" in 2005, since when Wyevale has had five chief executives in 10 years.

Bob Hewitt
Bob Hewitt

After joining Klondyke in 2006, Hewitt concentrated on redeveloping existing centres post 2010, with seven redevelopments and two refurbishments in five years, all including new restaurants. He said restaurant sales could potentially reach 25 per cent by 2019 from 20 per cent. Over the next three-to-five years Klondyke strategy will focus on redevelopments, he added, but he did not rule out buying more centres.

Daleside in North Wales is the latest refurbishment, opening in July. Garforth in Leeds begins a rebuild in September. Planning is going in to develop Edinburgh, with Polmont, Weavervale and Holland Arms next. Klondyke has disposed of four small centres and a nursery since 2008, with some going to discounters or housing.

Hewitt said December was the top month in 2015, with 14 per cent of sales, followed by June at 13 per cent. Average spend was £18.55. He pointed to growth in ready-made plant sales, pets, solar lights (where there is a shortage of supply), houseplants, catering and cook shop.

The cold start meant Easter was seven per cent down this year and 34 per cent down on two years ago, he added. Year-to-date sales from 1 October are 1.4 per cent up. David Yardley will succeed Hewitt, who will become chairman at the end of the year.


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