Mild winter hits Klondyke snow goods

Poor sledge sales leave garden centre chain £400,000 down but overall sales were up by four per cent over the winter.

Britain's third biggest garden centre chain, the 26-centre Klondyke, has asked suppliers "to help resolve bad buying decisions" after reporting being £400,000 down over the winter on snow products such as sledges.

Managing director Bob Hewitt told delegates at last week's Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association meeting at Barton Grange that the mild winter had left the company with sledges on its hands.

But despite that, sales at the chain have been four per cent up since 1 October 2011 and 30 per cent up over the past fortnight. Turnover to September 2011 increased by seven per cent to £47m with a pre-tax profit of £4.4m.

Klondyke's recent developments include Beverley Garden Centre, which it reopened in March after a refit. It has also made improvements at Northallerton, Wilmslow, High Legh, Inverness and Astbury Meadow. There are plans to develop Edinburgh, Polmont, Stokesley, Kelso and Savilles over the next couple of years.

Hewitt added that despite a greater emphasis on catering, craft and concessions at developed centres, gardening is still core.

"If you're going to be good at something you do it properly. We don't want it to be like B&Q," he said.

Barton Grange tour - Advice for suppliers

Barton Grange managing director Guy Topping showed delegates the development of the £14m-turnover centre, saying he saved millions by managing the £9.6m build himself. He also spent £1.6m on land and £1.4m on planning.

He said his staff had suggested that suppliers need to understand customers, help develop promotions, clear old stock and ensure that products are fit for purpose.

He said an owl nest box he had trialled but was "embarrassed" to sell had made him concerned the tough economy had "forced things down to the lowest common denominator". The box lacked a ledge, making it useless for baby owls, who would fall out.

He added that suppliers could be sharper with paperwork such as correct barcodes and give more product training to staff.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

High environmental standards, community work and support for local suppliers are all lessons for the wider garden retail industry, Matthew Appleby discovers.

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

Garden retailers are under pressure to use less plastic as the Government's new 25-year environment plan seeks to introduce a wave of measures to reduce pollution.

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

The Government has made strong statements on peat reduction in its new 25-year environment plan, published in January.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES 2017

See our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation
 

Read latest articles