Retail Outlet Under £3m Turnover - Sidmouth Garden Centre

Last year was very strong for Sidmouth Garden Centre, but with the weather making things harder in 2012, this year the focus has been on service and margins through reducing expenditure without affecting service.

Retail Outlet Under £3m Turnover - Sidmouth Garden Centre - image: HW
Retail Outlet Under £3m Turnover - Sidmouth Garden Centre - image: HW

At the end of 2011, Sidmouth bought key lines to increase margins for spring. The centre took advantage of EPOS systems to order accurate numbers of volume lines like Doff Slug and Snail Killer, paying only 50p for a 1kg tub and retailing at £4.99 or two for £7. Sidmouth sold more than 1,200 tubs, up 20 per cent on 2011.

Sidmouth also worked with Alexander Rose and Neptune garden furniture, buying ends of lines and clearance in August and although the weather has made sales slower this year, Sidmouth has still maintained great margins selling Alexander Rose Monte Carlo 150 (RRP £2,111) at £999, making a 200 per cent margin.

Sidmouth set up a Facebook site this year to interact with customers and advertise to locals without great cost. The centre has 200 followers and has reached 2,600 people at any one time. The fun way to communicate also uses free draws, and a promotion with a free bag of compost when spending £10 plus on plants saw 221 vouchers redeemed, a 23 per cent take up.

In a questionnaire, 100 per cent of customers said they would recommend a friend. Some 91 per cent said nothing needs to be changed about the centre and 90 per cent said services were good or excellent.

Sidmouth Garden Centre sponsors many local clubs and this year had a garden Q&A with the local Rotary Club, headlined by Toby Buckland, which raised £2,500 for charity.

The centre in Devon has completed two TV-style make-over projects for local schools and hosted meetings for many local community groups. Staff have become friends and have a 'meeting' in the local pub every Thursday. This year, they held a jubilee barbecue after work. Sidmouth runs a profit percentage bonus scheme too.

Temptations lifestyle shop has turned over an on-target £700,00 YTD, restaurant turnover is up 3.3 per cent at £712,000 and although turnover has fallen 5.2 per cent, which Sidmouth is putting down to the weather, margins are up at 53 per cent. Sales team members bring in £150,000 per head across a small 2,500sq m sales area.

- Judge's comment

"Excellent on profit and customer service" - Eve Tigwell

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