Garden Centre Group add first charity shop concession

Concessions services provider First Franchise has put its first charity shop into a garden centre, in a move that director Ian Silverton says is a perfect fit for garden retailers.

Pilgrims Hospices' charity shop launched the concession in Garden Centre Group's (GCG) Chartham Garden Centre in Kent last week.

Silverton said: "We do a lot of short term charity work but as a shop trading on its own its the first time we've ever done this. The demographics are spot on."

But he added: "There are plenty of concessions we are looking to get in so this is not driving our activity."

Silverton said garden centres were keen to stay upmarket and although businesses such as recycling companies have been in touch, they "don't want to damage their brand".

He said: "This is a one-off offering. They came in looking to rent some space. We were looking at a short-term deal they (GCG) quite liked the idea and put it in as a proper concession. I wouldn't say it's the way forward but there was space there and everything seemed to add up and GCG are receptive to any ideas."

The outlet sells clothing, accessories and bric-a-brac alongside a 3,000-title book department.

Silverton said poor weather had hit all garden centres this year and had a "dramatic effect on the promotion side - people are not that happy to start exhibiting when it's raining". He said GCG had suffered like everyone else but is still planning concession roll-outs and looking at acquisitions.

Silverton added that FF has made a late decision to attend Glee this year. Former Hammond Phillips employee Niall O'Regan has joined to work on deals with independent garden centres.

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