Strong interest in buying Garden Centre Group despite 2010 profit drop

The Garden Centre Group saw profits fall in 2010 but that has not stopped supermarkets and private equity groups showing interest in the chain.

The former Wyevale, which has 130 stores worth around £300m, saw total sales increase by seven per cent this year. But its profits in 2010 fell to £860,000 from £13.2m in the previous year.

"The group traded well in what can only be described as some of the worst economic and weather conditions imaginable," said the firm.

Plants were up by 10 per cent, including a 17 per cent increase in hardy nursery stock sales in 2011 so far.

During the first nine months of the year, the group bought 12 garden centres from Country Homes & Gardens and in July it appointed Rothschild to undertake a strategic review.

A representative for the company said: "As a result of this our adviser has received strong interest from a number of parties who view the company as an attractive acquisition opportunity."

The representative would not confirm rumours that Morrisons, Dobbies owner Tesco and private-equity firms Bridgepoint and Duke Street had made offers. It did, however, insist that the group would "not be broken up", but sold as a single entity.


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