Specialists able to thrive within corporate market

The explosion of consolidation in the garden retail sector has seen independent centres increasingly being taken over by other chains. Mdj2 Associates director Andy Newman said while companies always pump out great PR about the takeovers, in reality it is at times merely a land grab.

Discussion: specialists can thrive in corporate market - image: HW
Discussion: specialists can thrive in corporate market - image: HW

Blue Diamond managing director Alan Roper said: "A private equity company's activity is robbing customers of authoritative gardening. Plants and gardens are at the heart of what we do." But Wyevale in particular is drifting away from its horticulture focus, he added.

Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association chairman Paul Bevington said: "It's inevitable that in a mature market consolidation happens," adding that the big four banks and big four supermarkets are proof of the trend in other industries.

But delegates felt that specialists, including online retail, could thrive in a corporate market too. Squire's managing director Dennis Espley and Roper both said online would not be a profit- maker for them. Also speaking was Newey Group managing director Alex Newey.

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