Wyevale Nurseries grows more than six-million container plants, trees and transplants each year for supply to the retail, landscape, garden design, local authority and forestry markets.
Owned by the Williamson family for 87 years, the business has undergone a major period of transformation in the past three years, including consolidation from four separate businesses into one, to drive growth, develop a strong, single brand image and improve profitability.
Key developments include consolidation of container tree and open-ground tree production as well as developing an improved overall range and quality. A £300,000 investment in lifting and planting equipment has allowed for more efficient operations, faster turnaround of customer orders and increased capacity.
A new products department was set up three years ago with a brief to search for new plants from across the world. Since its inception, the department has launched 215 lines including 10 UK exclusives, won a raft of new plant awards at industry trade shows and generated more than £1.5m in new sales. The new plants range has allowed Wyevale to develop new relationships with top UK retail customers such as the Tillington Group, Blue Diamond and Klondyke Garden Centres.
Other key developments include an increased investment in the Wyevale propagation unit to supply "UK-sown and UK-grown" plants. As well as addressing the pressures of Brexit, the propagation unit also tackles concerns around biosecurity.
Wyevale has opened up more than 200 accounts in the garden design/domestic landscape market in the past two years and achieved a 45% year-on-year sales increase in 2017. A 2ha specimen shrub and hedging unit developed in 2017-18 will allow the business to meet increasing demand for larger shrubs from amenity and garden design customers. Wyevale is a leading plant supplier in the housing and holiday park sectors and has seen specimen shrub production increase by more than 300% in the past three years.
Other developments during this period include the introduction of a two-year management trainee programme and a fresh branding and marketing strategy to increase awareness of what was once regarded as a sleeping giant.
The results speak for themselves. Taken together, the measures have seen profits in the year to 31 July 2017 nearly quadruple on the back of steady turnover growth.
Sponsored by : ICL
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