Notcutts to turn into retail giant

Buying NWF's six centres will make Notcutts a £60m turnover garden retail powerhouse, says Notcutts deputy chairman William Notcutt.

The Suffolk-based group now has 19 centres after disposing of its growing and landscaping businesses in recent years and is now concentrating on retail.

Notcutts bought NWF's six centres for £14.5m this week. Three are in Cheshire, one is in Yorkshire and two in Nottinghamshire.

The six garden centres turned over £21.8m in the year to 31 May but posted operating losses of £300,000.

Notcutt said: "NWF offers us a lot of opportunities and shows our total focus on the garden centre market. We have moved from being a mixed horticulture business with retail, production and landscaping to wholly focusing on garden centres. It's what our business does and we believe we do it well and we can do it better.

"While NWF garden centres have great facilities, their greatest strength is in their staff.

"Nottingham is closer than some of our other centres to Woodbridge. Modern communication means distance is not such an issue - lots of our suppliers are scattered up and down the UK.

Notcutts added: "Consumer profiles around our garden centres are all different. If we were worried about the leases, we wouldn't have done it. Most retail operations on the high street are in leased premises and garden centres don't necessarily need to be different.

- NWF has confirmed former garden centre chief executive Ian Barnes has left the company.

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