Demand for garden centre businesses is as strong as ever and higher than in recent times, despite the unseasonal weather over the last 12 months.
Gilbert Evans reports it has sold four garden centres within the last eight weeks and is seeing demand across all areas of the country - even though banks continue to be reluctant to lend.
Demand from groups is particularly strong with a number of operators going on record that they are looking for new sites. These include The Garden Centre Group, Notcutts, Blue Diamond, Haskins and others.
Gilbert Evans director Mike Gilbert said this level of demand is likely to continue for the next couple of years and advises clients that if they are considering a sale, current demand may well result in strong prices being paid.
The firm has also seen an increase in demand for leases, as highlighted by the recent transactions at Chinnor and Highgrove.
Given banks are not prepared to lend as freely as in previous times, it makes sense for operators to use their capital to improve existing infrastructure, and expand via the leasehold route said Gilbert.
According to the firm nearly all the groups will consider leasehold transactions, which is a "significant change" from five years ago.
Gilbert Evans has sold businesses at Chinnor Garden Centre, where Dingley Dell took a new lease; while QD Stores further expanded its Cherry Lane Garden Centre portfolio with the acquisition of Bradmore Garden Centre in Nottinghamshire; Whiteleys Garden Centre, where Gilbert Evans acted on behalf of the administrators and most recently at Highgrove Garden Centre where Milbrook has taken over the business.