Waitrose leads garden centre site schemes

A collaboration between Waitrose and Garden & Leisure (G&L) that was recently granted planning permission could lead to more supermarkets building on garden centre sites.

The Percy Thrower garden centre in Shrewsbury will expand from 4,800sq m to 6,000sq m for opening in late 2013 after Waitrose bought part of the site to build a supermarket, with the cash going towards the relocated bigger garden centre built behind the existing "below-par centre", which will trade throughout construction.

A Waitrose representative said: "Absolutely we would like to hear from garden centres. Any supermarket has a list of towns and cities across the country where they'd like to open a store."

He added that Asda buying the former Country Fayre garden centre in Littlehampton that closed in 2010 is an example of a supermarket targeting a garden centre site with unrestricted A1 retail use.

The representative said Waitrose would not restrict what it or G&L could sell. He added that Waitrose has the lowest non-food retail sales of the major supermarkets, at 15 per cent.

G&L operations director Carol Paris said: "Waitrose will have a small coffee shop on site and do their standard offer. They won't do gardening and G&L won't sell food." The builder is Cranford.

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