Parkwood plant sales down 'due to recession'

Parkwood Holdings, which owns Glendale Horticulture, has been hit by a recession-led slump in amenity plant sales, according to founder Tony Hewitt.

Glendale is £55m-turnover company and part of Parkwood, which has an annual turnover of £120m. The lack of building has had a knock-on effect, according to Hewitt: "It is going to be an interesting winter to see what happens in amenity sales.

"October sales have not been what we expected. We rang round the other top amenity suppliers and they were all struggling.

"It's down to the recession — on the landscaping and amenity side there is not the building work. Garden centres are doing all right but not amenity. Cash and carries are not good either. Something will have to happen in the nursery sector. There will be quite a lot of restructuring this winter."

Hewitt added that other areas of Parkwood are prospering: "Councils say they are hard up but they are still spending. Our grounds maintenance business is doing fine. We're cutting back, as most companies are, but we'll be here to play the game next year."

He said Parkwood's management of 75 leisure centres was "doing very well".

Nicole Mirza is new general manager at Parkwood-owned Civic Trees, which is moving from Tring to Watford. Hewitt said tree planting this season started late but is now progressing well. Meanwhile, a Glendale consultancy business is mooted for Tring. A new general manager, Matthew Lawson, has also been appointed at the now wholly owned Verdia Horticulture recycling business in Devon.

Hewitt said: "We're not a static organisation, by a long way."

Looking ahead, he added: "We're looking at the golf market with more renewed interest at the moment - there are plenty of golf courses for sale."

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