Gardening Direct assets sold by Flying Brands

Flying Brands has sold the assets of the plug bedding retail business of Gardening Direct to Tim Dunningham's Jersey Choice Marketing for £2.875m.

The sale came two months after announcing sales in the first three months of 2012 fell by £1.7m to £3.8m at its Gardening Direct and Jersey-based Retreat Farm plant growing and live dispatch operations. Flying Brands plans to lease Retreat Farm to Jersey Choice.

The multichannel retailer warned that the removal of Low Value Consignment Relief on 1 April - the tax loophole that allowed no VAT on sales under £15 - and poor weather are challenges.

In May, Flying Brands sold its gifts division, including Flying Flowers, to Interflora for £2.4m and Garden Bird Supplies, Garden Centre Online and Listen2 businesses to the Garden & Home Trading Company, a subsidiary of home entertainment product distributor MBL, for £720,000.

Total orders at the company, in which Sir Tom Hunter's West Coast Capital owns a stake, fell from £10.8m to £7m. At the gifts division, Garden Bird Supplies, Garden Centre Online and Listen2 businesses sales dipped from £5.3m to £3.2m. In 2010, Flying Brands sold most of its entertainment businesses to concentrate on gardening and gifts.

In December 2011, it sold its Meadow Springs bedding glasshouse on Jersey to Jersey Choice (Jersey Plants Direct) for £1.225m.


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