Garden Retail Top 100 reveals rising trend for corporates

Big corporate garden centres are taking over from retail nurseries and family-run business at the top end of the market, according to the Garden Retail Top 100 (see p33).

The listing of garden centres by turnover shows a slow move towards a more corporate market, say experts.

The Garden Retail list is the only one of its type in the UK. The 100 centres listed make up almost £700m of the £4bn UK industry. Dobbies has 19 entrants against 12 last time while the Garden Centre Group has 14, up from 10 in 2012. Entry level has risen from £4m to £4.2m.

Quinton Edwards director Simon Quinton Smith said: "The independents can only grow one at a time, so how does anyone else expand? A new Dobbies costs £8m to build so should be in the top 100. Most new centres are only at the £2m mark.

Garden Centre Association (GCA) chief executive Peter Burks added: "There will always be independents and they will always be good because they are owner-occupied and run by someone passionate. They are not necessarily the biggest, but among the best.

"We know the industry is very fragmented so there's every chance over a period of time it will become dominated by one, two or three players like supermarkets were 30 years ago. But I can't see independents disappearing. They can remain strong because they have the support of the GCA."

View the full listing here.

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