Seed company focusing on retail after key appointment

Suttons Seeds will now focus on retail after appointing Hilary Mabbutt to run marketing, the Devon-based company's managing director David Robinson has said.

Mabbutt has a lot of experience, particularly in retail with Ikea, Dixons and department stores, is living in the Torquay area and was "looking for a new challenge", Robinson added.

Her focus will be on retail, where Suttons has "consolidated" over the past year since the management buyout by Robinson and Rufus Roberts from Limagrain in late 2014.

Robinson said the direct side of the business is growing but Suttons is looking to develop its retail offer and Mabbutt is now meeting garden centre buyers to discuss this. Results are due at the end of July. Robinson said he is "pretty optimistic" about his first year's returns and is felling "pretty bullish" after cutting costs in 2014-15.

Latest turnover was £15m, with full-time equivalent staff numbers at 107. Turnover was £19m in 2009 and staff numbers were 140 in 2013, with staff lost through natural wastage and 12 redundancies last summer.

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