Garden Centre Group sells Shiplake store and announces trading update

The Garden Centre Group's Shiplake Nursery & Garden Centre in Oxfordshire will close at the end of January after a mystery buyer bought the site. Meanwhile, the group, formerly known as Wyevale, has indicated profits were up this Christmas.

The former store at Shiplake has 20 staff. Sources suggested the centre may have sold for around £2m. Bigger former Wyevale's are at nearby Hare Hatch and Marlow, while CEO Nicholas Marshall's other company Country Gardens has a centre at Play Hatch.

Garden Centre Group (GCG) business development director David Pierpoint said: "We were approached by a third party who was interested in buying the centre and have therefore decided to sell. The majority of the existing garden centre staff will be relocated to our other garden centres. We would like to thank all our loyal customers for their support. The group is unable to disclose any further details about the sale."

Concessions landscaping company AWBS and J's Café have closed and Pets Corner was given notice last month. The Optiplan kitchen concession will be moving to the Hare Hatch centre in Twyford.

According to the Land Registry, the value of the Shiplake site in 2003 was £2,342,564.

GCG says gross profit in December 2009 was 20% higher than 2008 but like-for-like sales were slightly lower. It said restaurant sales were up 10% and Christmas tree sales were up seven per cent.

The group will make a fuller trading update on 25 January.


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