Breadcrumbs


Who are the most influential figures in Garden Retail?

Friday, 24 May 2013

The 2013 update of the top 100 figures influencing the garden retail industry sees more than 20 names joining the list, Matthew Appleby reports.

The fourth Garden Retail Power 100 sees more than 20 changes less than a year since we published the previous list.

Industry leaders such as David Gwyther, Gillie Westwood and Richard Plowman have retired, while Nicholas Marshall, Bernard Burns, Mark Pearson, Neil Fishlock, Lorrie Robertson, Jeff Kwiatowski, Phil Slinger, Andrew Maxted, Nick Davison, Ewan Sutherland and Caroline Spelman have left the garden retail industry or taken on new roles.

We have chosen people to represent sectors and largely kept to one representative per company elsewhere. The Power 100 is a Garden Retail view, gleaned from conversations with industry watchers, and is meant as a source of debate. Email matthew.appleby@haymarket.com with any views.

New entries in orange numbers

Last year's position shown in brackets

1. Carol Paris - HTA director general and Garden & Leisure operations director (5)

Took over as HTA president from Caroline Owen in October 2011 and now as director general is developing a more cooperative approach for the association. Paris splits her time with work at Garden & Leisure, where turnover stands at £40m+ for its seven centres. Neville Prest is G&L chief executive and John Moseley is marketing director.

2. James Barnes - Chief executive, Dobbies (2)

Dobbies has 32 centres with three more scheduled to open in Kings Lynn, Inverness and Harrogate. Turnover was £136m in early 2012. Barnes says the Tesco-owned centres add to the market rather than taking others' market share. Projections are for £206m in 2013 (36 stores) and £250m in 2014 (42 stores). Steve Guy is head of plants and Richard Egerton is a gardening buyer.

3. Alan Titchmarsh - Television gardener (3)

Set to present a third year of his ITV garden magazine show Love Your Garden, Titchmarsh is still the number one public face of gardening. He is backing Waitrose, which will have 150 garden "pods" outside stores by 2014, after three years with B&Q. He presents the BBC's Chelsea coverage as well as his afternoon chat show on ITV.

4. Ian Cheshire - Chief executive, Kingfisher

The UK's biggest garden retailer with 358 stores. Joclyn Silezin has taken over Steve Guy's category as trading manager for horticulture and garden care, with Guy moving to Dobbies. Kevin O'Byrne became chief executive at B&Q after Ewan Sutherland moved to the Co-operative.

5. Stephen Murphy - Chairman, Garden Centre Group (GCG)

GCG chairman Stephen Murphy is an ex-Virgin boss. Kevin Bradshaw is chief operating officer and Guy Hands - from private-equity business Terra Firma - is investor. The group is set to expand. Steve Pitcher is purchasing director and Tim Clapp is head of horticulture. GCG turnover is £263m at 129 centres (2011).

6. Caroline Owen - Scotsdales managing director and HTA president (6)

Owen is president of the HTA. Her Scotsdales Nursery & Garden Centre continues to prosper, with turnover at £14.4m. Jonathan Savage (plants) and Sally Spicer (sundries) are buyers. Owen chairs the HTA marketing committee, where suppliers such as Farplants, Bransford Webbs, Scotts, Gardman, Suttons and Stewarts are members.

7. Peter Burks - Garden Centre Association (GCA) president and GCG south and west manager (22)

Burks combines his role as a regional manager for GCG with his position as GCA chairman for 2012-13, succeeding Dennis Espley. He has stood up for the industry against gardening television indifference and worked on collaborations with other trade bodies.

8. Paul Loft - Homebase (8)

Loft is Homebase managing director and Terry Duddy is chief executive at parent company Home Retail Group. The 342-centre Homebase has a turnover of £1.6bn, with 24 per cent gardening. It sells 100 million plants a year. Matt Compton is trading director (garden), while Jane Templar is senior buyer and Amy Whidburn is head of corporate responsibility.

9. Jamie Oliver - Television chef (9)

Oliver says he is not available to help gardening, but he has filled the gap as a face of grow your own when no TV gardener could take the role. His new series is on thrifty cooking.

10. George Osborne - Chancellor of the exchequer (20)

Osborne, Department for Communities & Local Government secretary Eric Pickles and Defra secretary Owen Paterson all make decisions that impact on garden centres, how they expand and the financial environment in which they work.

11. Dennis Espley - Managing director, Squire's (11)

Squire's now has 14 centres across the South East. Espley was GCA president in 2011 and is an RHS council member. Squire's turnover is £36.6m and the company's head buyer is Darran Oakley.

12. Edward Conroy - Joint managing director, Westland Horticulture (12)

Westland continues to be innovative in compost, seeds (Unwins), chemicals and fertilisers and bird care, after buying Cranswick last year. Turnover is £77m. Keith Nicholson is marketing director and Jamie Robinson is technical director and Growing Media Association chairman.

13. Martin Breddy - General manager, Scotts (13)

Turnover was £115m at the US-owned compost and fertiliser company, which introduced Flower Magic this year. Rainer Schubert has taken over from Jeff Kwiatowski as UK sales director.

14. Monty Don - Television gardener (62)

Not a fan of garden retail. The Gardeners' World presenter, who since March 2011 has been presenting the programme from his Long Meadow garden, once said he had not been to a garden centre in a decade.

15. Boyd Douglas-Davies - Chief executive, Hillview Group (15)

Douglas-Davies joined the new venture Hillview Group in 2011 after spending 20 years with Webbs. He now runs two Studley and Hillview garden centres - and plans to buy more. He ran Garden Re-Leaf day for children's hospice garden charity Greenfingers for a second time in 2013.

16. Neil Gow - Director, Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (16)

Gow was the last director standing after three industry body chiefs retired in late 2011. He has been an outspoken voice of the industry.

17. Bob Hewitt - Chief executive, Klondyke (17)

Hewitt has quietly overseen Britain's third-biggest chain of 26 outlets since Klondyke founder Bob Gault died in early 2011. David Yardley is the company's buying head, with Jo Cooke covering plants and Allan Wilson on sundries.

18. Peter Clay - Director, Crocus (19)

Represents online. Clay says garden centres are boring. Crocus provides plants, builds Chelsea show gardens and is moving into shared portal offerings for organisations such as the RHS and Waitrose. Turnover at Crocus was £9.6m in 2012.

19. Alan Roper - Managing director, Blue Diamond Group (21)

Redfields, Fryers and Grosvenor are the newest additions to the 14-centre group, which will turn over £62m, according to industry maverick Roper. Buying head is Nick Jones, with Jim Teague on plants and Lark Hanham on sundries.

20. Andy McIndoe - Managing director, Hillier (24)

Gradually revamping its centres, with Eastbourne and Horsham recently updated. Sold Redditch to Hillview last year. Part of the wider Hillier grower and landscaper group. Buyers are Pippa Bensley (plants) and Graham Tarrant (sundries and leisure).

21. Nick Davies - Managing director, Solus (25)

Turns over more than £90m supplying garden centres with its branded bird food, garden tools, planting products and homeware. Also distributes other brands.

22. Tim Briercliffe - Business development director, HTA (63)

Briercliffe, who leaves the HTA next month for the International Association of Horticultural Producers, helped to set up the HTA National Plant Show, the HTA technical committee and the amenity suppliers, retail suppliers, cash and carry, manufacturers, seasonal plants and seeds and distance selling groups. He brought the Growing Media Association and others under the HTA umbrella.

23. Philip Clarke - Chief executive, Tesco

Representing supermarkets. Be it Tesco, Morrisons or Waitrose, supermarkets have gardening firmly in their sights. Tesco owns the Dobbies garden centre chain, while all the other grocery chains want to build on garden centre land.

24. Paul Hansord - Managing director, Thompson & Morgan (28)

Thompson & Morgan is possibly Britain's most influential plant retailer, by mail order and through garden centres. Andrew Tokely is horticulture head. New product development manager Michael Perry is prominent selling plants via QVC. The company's turnover is £40m+.

25. Peter Seabrook - Garden writer (29)

Peter Seabrook writes the country's most-read gardening page, with The Sun claiming 10 million readers of his column on Saturdays.

26. Jim Floor - Director, Verde Horticulture

Running Britain's biggest plant supplier after a private-equity link with Butters Group created a £75m group following the buyout of Landgard UK.

27. Andy King - Chief executive, Notcutts (31)

Appointed in 2007, King quietly streamlined Notcutts into a 19-centre retail company. The last Notcutt family member working at the company, William, left in 2011. The firm is currently seeking to expand. Buyers are Mark Wooton (head), Colin Dale (plants) and Sandy Parker (sundries).

28. Simon Quinton-Smith - Director, Quinton Edwards (32)

Quinton Edwards' sales in 2013 include Bow Garden & Aquatic Centre in Devon and Highway Garden & Leisure in Norfolk. Also sold in 2013: Crabtree Garden Centre, Chestnut Garden Centre, Priory Farm Garden Centre, Cole Green Garden Centre, Shallowmead Nursery, Jacksons Nursery, plus valuations and advice to garden centres and banks.

29. Mike Gilbert - Director, Gilbert Evans (33)

Gilbert Evans has recently sold businesses at Chinnor Garden Centre, Bradmore Garden Centre to QD Stores, Cherry Lane Garden Centres, Whiteleys Garden Centre, where Gilbert Evans acted on behalf of the administrators, and Highgrove Garden Centre, where Milbrook has now taken over the business.

30. Paul Cooling - Chairman, Coolings (34)

Cooling runs - with managing director Gary Carvosso - a traditional plant-based garden centre. Company turnover is £6.2m and it is celebrating its centenary this year.

31. Richard Jackson - QVC presenter (35)

Jackson is the face of gardening at television shopping channel QVC. He is one of the principal organisers of Garden Re-Leaf Day for the Greenfingers charity, which he founded. He also organises the Garden Press Event.

32. Paul Pleydell - Director, Pleydell Smithyman (36)

Working in strategy, planning and delivery and experiential retailing, Pleydell Smithyman projects include Squire's Twickenham, Badshot Lea and Ruxley Manor.

33. Malcolm Scott - Director, Malcolm Scott Consultants (41)

Scott is the voice of planning and garden centres, having gained permissions and designed major centres such as Hayes and Bents.

34. Jeff Fothergill/David Carey - Joint managing directors, Mr Fothergill's

The pair run seed firm Mr Fothergill's and both are sons of company founders.

35. Sue Biggs - Director-general, RHS (39)

Biggs placed retail as one of the seven central tenets of RHS activity when she restructured in 2010. Will Havercroft is RHS retail head.

36. Matthew Bent - Managing director, Bents Garden Centre (40)

Bents is undergoing a £10m expansion. Sales were £13.4m in the year to January 2011. Buyers are Stuart Brereton (head), with Mark Downton (plants) and Ian Brown (sundries).

37. Andy Bunker - Director, Alton Garden Centre (38)

Alton Garden Centre is part of the Tillington Group - including Bents, Frost and Webbs - which has a turnover of £170m. Bunker buys the plants, compost and trees at the garden centre, which turns over £8m+.

38. Dougal Philip - Owner, Hopetoun Gardens (64)

As well as running his West Lothian centre, Philip is an RHS council member, commercial board member and judge - and as such influences the society from the garden retailer's point of view. He also sponsors Gardening Scotland.

39. Peter McDermott - Managing director, YouGarden

McDermott is a multichannel garden retailer who set up YouGarden and Shopping@Home in 2012. He sold Lead the Good Life in 2011 and previously worked at Wynnstay, Eastfields, Unwins and Suttons. Martin Rowe is his horticultural director.

40. Keith McIntyre/Ian Silverton - Directors, First Franchise (65)

McIntyre and Silverton have transformed garden centres physically and financially by adding hundreds of franchises to chains such as GCG and Notcutts.

41. Guy Topping - Managing director, Barton Grange (44)

Topping's £15m Barton Grange remains the state-of-the-art centre that many aspire to be like. It retained the GCA best destination centre title at the association's 2013 conference. Russell Winteridge is general manager.

42. Julian Winfield - Chief executive, Haskins (51)

Winfield has taken the Haskins estate of four centres to new levels. To February 2011, Haskins had a £24m turnover. The rebuild at Roundstone with a new 4,000sq m centre was completed along with a £2.3m restaurant expansion at the West End centre in Southampton. Conna Powles is the company's buying director and Warren Haskins is chairman.

43. Martin Stewart - Stewarts Garden Centre owner and GCA chairman (43)

Stewart remains an influential figure in the GCA. His Stewarts centres turn over around £10m.

44. Matthew Wilson - Managing director, Clifton Nurseries (99)

Former RHS curator, Landscape Man television star and Landscape Agency associate director, Wilson is now Greenfingers chairman and runs the exclusive London garden centre.

45. Danny Adamson - Managing director, Sinclair Horticulture (45)

Adamson is a high-profile industry figure at the £48m-turnover Sinclair company, which specialises in compost. Peter Rush is the firm's new chief executive officer, replacing Bernard Burns this year.

46. Guy Moreton - More People director (49)

Moreton is the recruitment and training consultant to whom many turn when they want to change jobs.

47. Ian Riggs - Chairman, British Protected Ornamentals Association

Well-known face who is now the voice of the bedding and protected ornamentals group and also business development manager at pot supplier Desch Plantpak.

48. Jane Lawler - Marketing director, Gardman (50)

Lawler has masterminded a rebranding of the Gardman bird care range, the UK's biggest. Gardman turns over £80m. Bernard Shannon is new sales director with senior figures Mark Pearson and Tim Stainton having left this year.

49. David Domoney - Garden designer (67)

Garden showman who was on prime-time television in 2011 with Channel 5's Garden ER and is now wingman for Alan Titchmarsh on ITV's Love Your Garden.

50. Justin Farrington Smith - Managing director, QD Stores/Cherry Lane Garden Centres

Representing bargain stores, including B&M Bargains and many "pound" outlets, which all have horticulture offers. There are now eight Cherry Lane garden centres. James Carter is QD plant buyer and Nigel Press is garden buyer for B&M.

51. Vicky Nuttall - Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) president and Forest Garden marketing manager

Has taken over from Nigel Thompson as GIMA chair.

52. Ken Cox - Managing director, Glendoick Garden Centre (56)

The revamped Glendoick was unveiled by MSP John Swinney in 2011. Cox, a plant hunter and rhododendron expert, helped bring in new hardiness ratings for plants with the RHS in 2013.

53. Chris Roberts - Managing director, Van Hage (57)

Van Hage's turnover is £18.6m at its sites in Great Amwell, Chenies and Peterborough Garden Park. Martin Taylor is group retail director.

54. Steve Harper - Business operations manager, Bord na Mona (58)

Bord na Mona has taken over the sales and marketing functions at Vital Earth after linking to distribute GroWise peat-reduced compost in the UK in 2010. Former Vital Earth managing director Harper left the company but quickly returned in a new role.

55. Tammy Woodhouse - Managing director, Millbrook Garden Company (68)

Now runs three garden centres, with the acquisition of Highgrove Garden Centre in Staplehurst, Kent, earlier this year. Woodhouse will take the role of GCA chairman from 2020.

56. Beryl Henderson - Owner, North One and West Six Garden Centres (59)

Winner of the Garden Retail Urban Garden Centre of the Year for North One, Henderson is ahead of the game when it comes to urban retailing and appealing to younger customers.

57. Mary Portas - Television retail consultant (27)

Made an HTA conference appearance in 2010 and is the face and voice of retailing in the media and with the Government. Alex Polizzi with BBC2's The Fixer has aped the Portas shop makeover style, including working at a garden centre earlier this year.

58. Ian Richardson - Director, Garsons (60)

Richardson is another future GCA chairman and also steeped in the garden centre trade. Pick your own and farms hops have made two-centre Garsons' name. Alison Jones is the company's plant buyer and Gary Hayman buys sundries. Richardson will be GCA chairman in 2018-19.

59. James Frost - Director, Frosts Garden Centre (61)

This family-run has a £28m turnover across the four-centre group as well as its large landscape construction division. Peter Newson buys garden centre plants for the company and James Godber takes care of sundries.

60. Chris Collins - Blue Peter gardener

Collins has been a part of the children's television show since 1994 - almost as long as Percy Thrower (1974-83) - and also a regular face in the promotion of industry initiatives.

61. David Little - Managing director, Poplars Garden Centre (88)

Little is another future GCA chairman (2016-17) and the association's current treasurer.

62. Paul de Zylva - Head of nature, Friends of the Earth

Representing environmental campaigners who have targeted garden centres over the use of neonicotinoids this year and see them as an easy win when it comes to campaigns against peat and pesticides.

63. Charles Stubbs - Owner, British Garden Centres (66)

Stubbs owns seven garden centres with his brother Robert and they plan to make it 10 over the next few years. Most of the centres are on the east coast, with Brigg the flagship, and fit well with current value trends.

64. Will Armitage - Managing director, Armitage's (87)

Armitage runs two West Yorkshire centres and is in line to be the next GCA chairman (2014-15).

65. Mike Burks - Managing director, Gardens Group (69)

Burks is joint founder of Gardens Group, which has three centres in Dorset and Somerset. He is also GCA southern area representative and helps to run the association's e-learning scheme.

66. Alan Murdoch - Director, Fermoys and Value House

Murdoch is known for his innovative marketing ideas, such as the charity "barrowthon" tandem bike ride. A director at Fermoy's and three Value House centres in the South West.

67. Sue Steptoe - Buying manager for horticulture, Waitrose

Waitrose aims to introduce 150 garden "pods" at its stores in 2014 after introducing 40 promoted by Alan Titchmarsh in 2013. Steptoe helps with the Waitrose-sponsored NFU British grown stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and other flower shows.

68. Gez Smith - Commercial director, MBL Group (42)

Early in 2013, former Focus buying controller and Lead the Good Life managing director Gez Smith joined MBL Group, which supplies DVD, CD and console and computer game formats. Within the company portfolio are two "pure play" online garden retail businesses - www.gardencentreonline.co.uk and www.gardenersmarket.co.uk.

69. Simon Edwards - Operations director, Golden Acres Nurseries (70)

Dorset-based Golden Acres Nurseries runs five garden centres, grows three million bedding plants a year and operates a cash and carry.

70. John Stanley - Garden retail guru (72)

Much-respected international garden retail consultant.

71. Gerald Ingram - Managing director, Planters Garden Centre (74)

Ingram runs four Midlands garden centres and sits on the HTA retail committee. Garden King-branded centres at Newhall and Bradley have a value message, while the Bretby flagship champions home grown.

72. Neville Stein - Consultant (82)

Horticultural business development adviser who mentors and coaches six garden centres, provides sales training to five centres, runs two retail business improvement schemes for the HTA and one catering business improvement scheme, provides services to the Polish Garden Centre Association and also works with a garden supply company in New Zealand.

73. Christine Walkden - Television gardener (47)

Down-to-earth Walkden is seen by more than any other television gardener as the gardening presenter on BBC1's The One Show.

74. Ian Boardman - Consultant and GCA chief inspector (75)

Boardman is best-known for presenting detailed inspection reports at GCA conferences that always give food for thought to GCA members.

75. Andy Campbell - Consultant and GCA judge (76)

Campbell is a GCA inspector, tour leader and columnist.

76. Matt Mein - Director, Glee

Long-serving Glee trade exhibition staff member Matt Mein was promoted to replace Nick Davison as director in 2013.

77. Chris Ramsden - Sales and marketing director, Suttons

Ramsden took over from David Arnold at Suttons earlier this year. Tom Sharples is horticulture adviser at the French-owned, Devon-based seeds and young plants company, which turns over around £20m.

78. Adam Wigglesworth - Director, Ayletts (84)

Wigglesworth runs the £6.85m turnover Ayletts Garden Centre and Aylett Nursery with his wife Julie and sits on the HTA retail management group.

79. Eve Tigwell - Garden centre consultant (79)

Tigwell works internationally as a garden centre consultant.

80. Sam Bosworth - Choice Marketing chairman and Bosworth's Garden Centre owner

Garden centre buying group Choice Marketing has a membership of 30 garden centres and a combined turnover of more than £65m.

81. Chris Brown - Director, Turpin Smale

Another catering sector representative. Catering consultant Chris Brown keeps ahead of the game by running London cafe tours and he advocates quirkiness in garden centre cafes. He also works with the National Trust and the HTA.

82. Phil Gibbs - Secretary, Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association (91)

Gibbs has succeeded Richard Plowman as secretary of the association.

83. Mr Bloom - Gardener, CBeebies (92)

Actor Ben Faulks plays Mr Bloom in the popular toddler series Mr Bloom's Nursery, which introduces gardening to the very young and their parents.

84. Nigel Long - Managing director, Longacres

Longacres is Britain's biggest garden centre, with a £16.5m turnover, and has undergone a rebuild.

85. Stan Green - Managing director, Growforth (94)

Green heads Scotland's biggest supplier of plants to garden centres and is developing a Green Garden Market retail concept at his Fife business. He will be the next HTA president.

86. Phil Barnden - General manager, Woodcote Green Garden Centre (95)

Inspired marketing and community projects have won Woodcote Green many awards.

87. James Wong - Ethnobotanist

Behind the Homegrown revolution range sold by Suttons. Wong presents on the BBC's Countryfile and other television programmes.

88. Alys Fowler - Television gardener

Face of the grow your own generation.

89. Neil Bragg - Chairman, Horticultural Development Company

Works for horticulture research body and also Bulrush.

90. Simon Moore - Garden buyer, Wilkinson

Representing high-street horticulture sales in hardware shops, alongside the likes of Robert Dyas.

91. Paris Natar - Stakeholder, Smart Solar

Natar founded Gardman and sold it to in a deal worth £85m. Bought a majority stake in Smart Solar this year.

92. Sue Allen - Founder, Millbrook Garden Company (89)

Involved in Garden Re-Leaf as well as the GCA and International GCA.

93. Colin Campbell-Preston - Chief executive, Capital Gardens (86)

Runs five London garden centres.

94. Marcus Eyles - Managing director, Garden Store Company (98)

Runs seven Midland garden centres.

95. Chris Dawson - Founder, The Range

Dawson owns 74 home-and-garden out-of-town stores.

96. Jolyon Brown - Managing director, Chessington Garden Centre

Ahead of the game with Christmas and events such as a circus, with gardening and catering to match.

97. Ed Webb - Chief executive, Webbs

Runs three Midland garden centres. Alan Docherty is buying head.

98. Toby Buckland - Owner, Toby Buckland Nurseries (88)

Former Gardeners' World presenter with strong industry background.

99. Father Christmas - Representing 2012's garden centre Christmas sales lifesaver.

100. The customer - Last in this list - but certainly not least.

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In This Issue

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MARKET REPORT: Glasshouses

LANDSCAPE ANALYSIS: Government prospectus offers potential boost across disciplines

EDIBLES: Helping cut food waste - latest packaging addresses concerns over waste issues

PLANT FOCUS: Polygonatum