Costs and poor spring take toll on The Canny Gardener

Liquidators appointed after internet-only bedding retailer The Canny Gardener ceases to trade.

Milne: managing director at The Canny Gardener, now ceased trading
Milne: managing director at The Canny Gardener, now ceased trading

High start-up costs and poor spring weather are among the factors blamed for mail-order bedding retailer The Canny Gardener's cessation of trading. The company is an internet-only multi-channel business run by ex-employees of Flying Brands.

Managing director is Tony Milne, with directors Andrew Hunt, Anthony Lahert and Alan Thomas. Roundstone Nurseries supplied most of the plants.

Phone lines are closed with a forwarding-address message to contact the company's registered office at 1 Harrow Park, Plough Lane, Hereford HR4 0EH.

Julie Palmer and Simon Campbell of Begbies Traynor Central have been appointed joint liquidators. Palmer said: "There are limited assets to the company. As liquidators we will look at reasons for company failure and realise assets for the benefit of creditors." She confirmed Roundstone is a major creditor.

Palmer said a variety of reasons led to the company closing. Start-up costs to build a customer base were high and the unusual weather patterns of a late spring "caused disruption", she added.

"By the time plants were delivered to customers they weren't at the requisite quality, which was compounded by issues of packaging and led to high levels of customer complaints and returns."

The firm was also forced to price aggressively, which cut margins. It entered liquidation on 15 January. Latest turnover was listed at £751,000 and employees numbered five.

Industry comment - Alex Newey, chairman, HTA seasonal plants group

"I think this is a reflection on horticulture in general. The reality is that whilst the barrier for entry of new business's is pretty low, you do need a chunk of cash to get you through unforeseen circumstances. Mail order was well understood by The Canny Gardener - they just ran out of money and support."

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