Hammond Phillips employees set up new company

Four former Hammond Phillips staff have set up Gilbert Evans, a garden centre sales and valuation firm based in Ascot, Berkshire.

Partner Mike Gilbert said he sees the market holding up for garden centres wishing to sell. Andrew Hamilton will be running the valuations side at the firm. Gilbert and Hamilton are joined by David Gilbert and Allen Evans, also from Hammond Phillips.

Gilbert said around 10 per cent of garden centres are struggling. He is working on concessions advice particularly on rates, legal issues and sharing of costs and with Garden Park Investments to find a tenant for a new build in Andover, Hampshire.

He added that a new Garden Centre Group development in Faversham, Kent, had been shelved because of the recession.

Gilbert Evans said it has six centres for sale on its books but would not name them.

Gilbert added: "The garden centre sales market is healthy. Prices have not fallen in the recession." He revealed that interest was strongest in the south.

"I know it's a cliche, but garden centre owners are often first-time sellers and so they often need advice on how much stock is worth and how to maximise its value," he explained.

Hamilton noted that rather than location, buyers were looking for "potential, potential, potential", particularly for concession opportunities. Gilbert Evans is currently in the process of setting up a website.

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