Hortis offers £311m to buy Wyevale

An offer has been made to purchase Wyevale Garden Centres.

Wyevale Garden Centres has received an offer of £311m from Scottish entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, backed by Icelandic investor Bauger. The chain announced the move on the same day it revealed a 6.3 per cent fall in profits in 2005 to £20.7m and a 15 per cent drop in sales in the first 15 weeks of 2006. The 110-centre chain’s shareholders look set to accept the bid, according to retail analyst Richard Ratner. He said the move by bidding vehicle Hortis was no surprise, but it had much to do to restore Wyevale’s fortunes. “Compared with other retail businesses, it has been very, very poorly run in terms of visual merchandising and badly managed concessions. It has concentrated on too many sites, instead of targeting the big ones,” Ratner said. Industry figures backed the move. Ratner added that Hortis will need to spend around £50m on revamping stores.

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