Suppliers voice concern as consolidation grows

Garden centre consolidation is increasingly concerning suppliers, who are losing customers as large groups buy up independents. Wyevale Garden Centres bought Woodcote Green and Crowders Garden Centres in January, taking its purchases to more than 20 over the past two years.

Burston Nurseries managing director James Alcaraz said when Trelawney Garden Centre sold to Blue Diamond in 2015 everything turned out well because Burston supplies the Guernsey-based group with bedding and containerised Fryers roses. But not having dealt with Wyevale for a decade, he suspects supplying Woodcote with tens of thousands of pounds' worth of plants will end.

Alcaraz said Burston had a "special relationship" with Woodcote Green, a £14.8m turnover centre in Surrey. "To have one of your flock taken over is devastating," he added.

A year ago, Blackmoor Nurseries had the same issue when Wyevale bought Golden Acres. Wyevale has a list of approved suppliers. Growers say that if they are not on it, then they will not be able to supply their old customer once it becomes a part of the group.

Wyevale also bought Crowders Garden Centre in Horncastle, Lincolnshire, last week to take its number of centres to 153. More centre acquistions are expected to be announced soon.

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