Notcutts chief executive reveals growth pathway

Garden centre managers making more decisions alongside a big spend on developing existing buildings is the path to growth, according to Notcutts chief executive Nick Burrows.

Notcutts: new restaurants will increase catering spend
Notcutts: new restaurants will increase catering spend

Burrows, appointed from First Direct in 2015, said his role is to develop new strategy and customer proposition and to reinvigorate the business, repositioning to a broader retail and leisure brand experience with garden inspiration at the core. He wants Notcutts to become the place to go for gardening advice, he added.

That brand repositioning is central to Burrows' five-year £45m plan for Notcutts' 18 garden centres, which he hopes will add 50 per cent to turnover and reach £100m while doubling profit. Central to that is new restaurants at all centres, which he said can increase catering spend from 13 to 20 per cent of turnover.

Canopies to help outdoor sales in poor weather are also going in at all centres. Assembled show gardens are planned that will "enable our managers and horticultural team to show off their credentials and skills" as well as helping sales.

Burrows wants staff to "demystify gardening" with less jargon and more advice, and put gardening "at the forefront of our message". There will also be new branding by the end of the year.

He added that the management culture will develop to see more local accountability vested in garden centre managers to lead their businesses and become stronger integral parts of their local communities. The business, founded in 1897, is still family-owned. Turnover is expected to top £70m this year. Burrows said internet sales will focus on plants and furniture but new technology is needed before progressing.

Notcutts has 1,300 staff. President Charles Notcutt died last year but Caroline Notcutt remains as a vice-president. Burrows declined to comment on rumours that Wyevale Garden Centres wanted to buy Notcutts but said: "In a sector that is trying to consolidate, then anyone could potentially be the subject of a rumour. I was brought in to develop and improve the garden centre business. My brief was to come in and make something special out of Notcutts, not to come in and set up for sale."

Dobbies' new private equity owners "will be able to maintain the momentum they already had" because they have not been blended with another company, he said.

On Dobbies' expansion plans, Burrows said he does not shy away from competition but added that Dobbies is more leisure-based than Notcutts, which is refocusing more on gardening. Dobbies is run by former Notcutts chief Andy King, who had plans to buy more centres for Notcutts that did not come about.

Customer favourites

Notcutts customers' favourite are geraniums, lavender and statement plants. The chain sells 50,000 geraniums and 25,000 lavenders every year, as well as 170,000 bags of its own-brand compost that contains extracts of Guinness, Muller yoghurt and Magners cider.

Mattocks Roses, which was established in 1875, is an exclusive brand to Notcutts. Two-thirds of the chain's furniture range is exclusive and its Christmas trees are sourced from Scotland.

Notcutts' restaurants serve three million customers a year with two million cups of coffee and tea, 400,000 scones and 45,000 portions of fish and chips. Its Everyday wild bird seed sells 200 tonnes each year. Notcutts Privilege Club has 160,000 members. Passion, inspiration and expertise are brand values.

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Pots and containers

Pots and containers

Superior propagation products can justify extra expenditure by providing precise cell fill, optimum root development and healthy plugs, writes Sally Drury.

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

Business Planning - Inflationary pressures

How can horticulture businesses respond to Brexit-fuelled inflation? Neville Stein outlines the options.

Garden centre profile: Mappleborough Green Garden Centre

Garden centre profile: Mappleborough Green Garden Centre

Phase two of the redevelopment of the former Badger Nurseries has delivered rapid and impressive results, Matthew Appleby discovers.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Garden retail Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. NEW: 2016 listing just published

Garden Centre Prices

GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 21 September 2016
GARDEN CENTRE PRICES w/e 24 August 2016

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here