Review of 2011 - Garden Retail

Garden Retail Review of 2011 - image: HW
Garden Retail Review of 2011 - image: HW
January
  • GCA figures released in January saw garden centre sales up two per cent overall in 2010 after a snow-hit December.
  • VAT increases from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent came in on 31 January.
  • Haskins spent £3m on its restaurant at Southampton.
  • Which? And Garden Organic criticised garden product manufacturers for making ‘misleading’ green claims on labels.
  • Alan Titchmarsh revealed he is to return to TV with ITV’s Love Your Garden at the GCA conference.
  • London’s Gingko Garden Centre became West Six Garden Centre after a takeover by North One.

February
  • Titchmarsh defended his role as the face of B&Q.
  • The Government’s peat-ban target was subject of debate at Melcourt and B&Q.
  • Industry fears about new tags for Danish trolleys arose over cost and inconvenience.
  • ‘Cut your own’ was hailed as a possible trend to replace grow your own.
  • Homebase signed up Jamie Oliver for gardening merchandise.
  • GAN trade show closed for the last time.
  • Van Hage Peterborough revealed teething troubles.
  • Klondyke founder Bob Gault died aged 65. Bob Bickerdike dies aged 63.
  • Hillier reopen redeveloped garden centre at Eastbourne.
  • Squires Shepperton reopened.

March
  • Garden centres looked to stock royal wedding memorabilia.
  • RSPB suggested a £1 a bag peat levy.
  • Palmers Garden Centre opened at Yeovil.
  • GCA figures show outdoor plant sales up 50 per cent as gardeners rush to replace cold-hit plants.
  • British Garden Centres buys Yorkshire Garden Centre in Gilberdyke.
  • Glendoick’s Ken Cox slams red tape waste regulations.

April
  • Boyd Douglas-Davies leaves Webbs to join Hillview, which plans to become a garden centre chain.
  • First quarter sales up seven per cent driven by outdoor plants (up 28 per cent) finds GCA.
  • Alan Titchmarsh defends occasional use of peat and herbicides.
  • Veg seed sales continue to outstrip flowers to reach 80/20 for some firms
  • Blue Diamond begins rebuild at Redfields.
  • Easter sales prosper as garden centres deal with four bank holidays in 11 days, including royal wedding.

May
  • Garden centres see shrub shortages after strong demand.
  • Nick Crabbie wins battle for £2m Dunbar Garden Centre.
  • Some 31 Focus stores go for £23m to B&Q after DIY/garden centre group goes into administration over Easter. B&M and Wickes take other stores but most are left empty and suppliers are hit.
  • Garden Organic tackle certification of organic products to be sold in garden centres at conference.
  • Piers Mummery sells four Shoots centres to Squires.
  • Garden & Leisure link with Waitrose on Shrewsbury development in start of a string of industry-supermarket deals.
  • Homebase and B&Q revel in Chelsea Flower Show exposure.

June
  • Scotts, William Sinclair, B&Q and Homebase sign a letter to Defra calling for peat legislation, claiming a voluntary ban won’t work.
  • Poor weather hits bank holiday sales.
  • Voluntary targets of 2020 are set for retail bagged phase out of peat.

July
  • Wyevale‘s Peter Williamson dies aged 68.
  • Thompson & Morgan withdraw sprouting seeds after E.coli scare.
  • Gardman launches British Trust for Ornithology range.
  • Garden Organic launches I Don’t Dig Peat campaign.
  • GCG see sales boost from plant sales and aims for more homegrown products, including indoor plants.
  • Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden ITV series opened up to audiences of 3.5m.
  • Garden Centre Group signs up Rothschilds to scope out possible sale.
  • Cold winters trigger new RHS hardiness ratings.
  • B&Q dropped a string of growers in a supply chain rationalisation move.

August
  • Garden Centre Group’s Nicholas Marshall backs the Garden Retail awards
  • Garden centre prices falling says agents
  • August sales flat, as is year to date, finds GCA. HTA finds July sales up four per cent and year to date to end of July up six per cent.
  • Dobbies opens in Peterborough and Carlisle and now has 35 centres. Boss James Barnes say Dobbies grows the market rather than takes from exiting retailers.
  • July sales were down one per cent, finds GCA.
  • Longacres begins a redevelopment by Vear and Thermoflor.
  • Next opens its first home and garden centre, in West Sussex.

September
Hillier sell Redditch centre to Boyd Douglas Davies’ new Hillview Group, which aims for 10 centres.
Palmers Garden Centre buys Ullesthorpe GC in Leicestershire.
Homebase reveals gardening is 24 per cent of £1.57bn turnover.
Klondyke starts redesign of fire-hit Wilmslow centre through Pleydell Smithyman.
Stagecraft fits clothing sections at 14 GCG stores.
GCG goes up for sale at £300m.
Peat task force head Dr Alan Knight rules out peat import tax.
Mintel study shows garden retailers must price low.
Global garden market set to bounce back to $2.2bn by 2013 finds Euromonitor.

October
  • Garden centres could gain from new National Planning Policy Framework, says planner Malcolm Scott.
  • Garden Centre Group (GCG) takes over Country Gardens’ 12 centres.
  • GCG sees profits fall to £860,000 for 2010.
  • Blue Diamond buys Fryers garden Centre for £2.7m after competition from Garden & Leisure.
  • GCA figures reveals sales slip in September and flat year.
  • GCG’s Nicholas Marshall reveals flotation hope for 130 centre chain.
  • Garden centres step up the value message, with garden King, B&M, Cherry Lane and British Garden Centres leading the way.
  • G&L’s Carol Paris, the new HTA president, calls for greater trade body collaboration.

November
  • Bents unveils £9m makeover programme.
  • Garden Re-Leaf names 13 April as garden centre ‘red nose day.
  • Garden Retail award winners lead by community-focussed centres. Winners include Woodcote Green, Sidmouth, World’s End, Planters, Monkton Elm, Scotts, John Woods, Fermoy’s, North One, GCG’s Will Foulkes, sanders, Millbrook, Scotsdales and Barton Grange’s Eddie Topping.
  • Channel Island VAT increases spark price rise fears.
  • Christmas pop-up shops open from Notcutts, G&L, Bents, Webbs.
  • GCA chief executive Gillie Westwood to stan down in January.
  • Former garden retailer David Clark dies aged 73.

December
  • Industry airs drought fears.
  • Garden Centre Group gives up Beverley site.
  • HTA director general David Gwyther retires.
  • November sales up 3.6 per cent say GCA.
  • Stapeley Water Gardens to close.
  • Christmas sales begin well.
  • GCG sale narrowed down to private equity bidders and now set for 2012.
  • Dobbies plans York, Gillingham and East Kilbride centres for 2012.

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