Second phase of Redfields redevelopment opens in Fleet

Phase two of Blue Diamond's Redfields Home of Garden & Living store has opened in Fleet, Hampshire.

The garden centre, bought by Blue Diamond in 2010, has been extended and rebuilt to 6,000sq m by Hodges to a design by Blue Diamond managing director Alan Roper.

Roper said he wanted the centre to be an "antidote" to the "creeping corporate look" he sees at top chains and sought a more "homely" look. There are two fully dressed house sets.

Garden centres risk losing their point of difference from the high street without paying attention to their gardening offer and home products, he warned.

Innovations at the garden centre include using home furniture and an old Aga rather than racking to display home products and introducing a "Treetop Cafe" aimed at mothers with children, with a canopy theme. Outside is a fairy tale-themed playground with buildings by Enchanted Creations.

Turnover is now up to £5.7m a year, with an aim of £9m-£10m as Roper targets the local AB1 demographic. Blue Diamond is to buy a 16th centre in October, which Roper says is a well-known name. See more in HW next month.

Meanwhile, Roper says he is "reviewing the opportunity" to build a garden centre near Leeds: " This would be a new build lease and I am reviewing the plans pending a planning application."

I am currently reviewing the opportunity. This would be a new build lease and I am reviewing the plans pending a planning application.

- The Top 100 Garden Centres feature (HW, 19 September) listed Grosvenor Garden Centre's turnover before Blue Diamond owned it including VAT. Without VAT, turnover was £6,274,411 in 2011, £6,135,435 in 2012 and £6,350,106 in 2013. Grosvenor is up eight per cent for the year to date.


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