QD Stores sees Christmas plant sales up 26 per cent

QD Stores Cherry Lane Garden Centres division saw Christmas sales of plants and seeds increase by 26.37 per cent.

Cherry Lane
Cherry Lane

The nine-strong garden centre group which also operates 29 other discount stores, plans an announcement on further expansions in garden retail later this month.

QD stores MD Justin Farrington Smith said: "While trading is tough all round we are very pleased to have turned in strong sales figures for the Christmas trading period with continued growth in both profit and margin." He put the festive season success down to long-term campaign planning and enhancements to logistics and customer services.  

"We started planning our Christmas campaign back in January, giving us plenty of time to hone our offer, while investment in IT infrastructure has helped to drive improvements in supply chain availability."

Norwich-based QD operates 38 retail outlets under the QD, Lathams of Potter Heigham and Cherry Lane Garden Centre brands, extending from the eastern England and Home Counties as far north as Doncaster and west as Wrexham.

Christmas trading for the group (excluding some 2012 store openings) saw like-for-like store sales of festive decorations, novelties and lights up by 16.64 per cent; toys up by 33.27 per cent; menswear up by 20.78 per cent; grocery up by 26.38 per cent; household cleaning and toiletries up by 43.88 per cent; with plants and seeds sales at the Cherry Lane Garden Centres increased by 26.37 per cent.

QD expanded its Cherry Lane Garden Centre chain to a total of nine sites during 2012 with the acquisition of a new build site at Towcester in Northamptonshire.  The group also acquired the freehold and assets of Croft Nurseries & Garden Centre in Beverley, Yorkshire and the purchase of a new build garden centre site at Cromford, Derbyshire.

A joint redevelopment with food specialist retailer Morrisons of the former Buyright site at Hadleigh, Suffolk provided QD with a new 20,000 sq ft store and an existing wraparound garden centre space.

A pop-up store in Watton, Norfolk also traded to expectations though Farrington Smith had hoped for more offers from landlords. "We look forward to trading more pop-ups in 2013 and are encouraging landlords of suitable premises for the concept to get in touch," he says.

QD Christmas 2012 results do not include the Towcester, Beverley and Hadleigh sites or online sales and Justin Farrington Smith is optimistic for the company’s prospects in 2013.

"We are working on a major e-commerce re-launch for 2013 with further stores commencing trading so we anticipate an even stronger sales performance for next Christmas," he said.

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