Wyevale Garden Centres release 2014 report, with overall sales slightly up

Wyevale Garden Centres has seen sales increase by 5.1 per cent in 2014, "driven by acquistions".

WGC's revenue was £290.4m for the year ending 28 December, up from £276m, when WGC added 10 centres that have now had a full year to contribute, including the £40m turnover Garden & Leisure.

The report stated: "The majority of this growth has been driven by acquistions, with minimal organic growth. This is however a result of the management's strategy to discontinue a number of non-core product lines, and instead use concession partners."

Gross margin increased by 3.3 per cent to 56.5 per cent as a result of "a focus on the supplier tendering process and central hub distribution".

Concession income grew by £3.8m to £18.1m, making overall income £310.6m, up from £291.5m. Some £28.3m went on acquistions and £34.6m on capital expenditure, including rebranding as WGC. Centre numbers went from 139 to 148. Some 31 stores were redeveloped, with concessions such as Laithwaites wine, Brantano footwear, Jolleys pets and Peacocks clothing going in as well as in store improvements. Concession numbers rose from 478 to 566.

The report stated: "This strategic focus has led to some top line revenue reduction, as the sales move to our concession partners. But overall margin impact is positive."

The group reported EBITDA of £56.1m and operating profit at £34.2m. There are 5,900 staff. Net debt was £335.7m, up from £273.1m in 2013. Acquistions were Brooks, Moreton Park, Ashford, Raglan, Podington and Golden Acres' four centres. In 2013, WGC bought 10 centres, including Garden & Leisure's seven centres. In 2015, WGC hopes to launch multi-channel retailing, with home delivery and click and collect.

WGC said no-one would be interviewed about the report.

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