William Sinclair says peat use will be back up in 2010

Peat use in consumer products will be higher in 2010 than 2009 because shortages are not as bad as they were, says William Sinclair finance director Peter Williams.

William Sinclair, which supplies national accounts such as The Garden Centre Group (formerly Wyevale), Wilkinson, Tesco, Homebase and B&Q as well as independent garden centres, was providing a trading update ahead of full year results to be announced on 5 January 2010.

Williams said: "This year specifically has been a year when a lot of peat substitutes have been used, not primarily as a drive not to use peat but because there wasn't any peat to use. This was probably a one-off blip in the long-term trend is down but it dipped down more last year and will be back to the trend-line this year."

He added that peat price rises for retail in 2010 would be less of an issue than for professional growers because of the availability of specific grades following the wet summer.

Williams said Garden Retail award sponsor Sinclair had done better than some rivals by starting harvesting in April rather than waiting for the "barbecue summer". He added that bark was in short supply because of low activity in the construction sector, but coir and green waste were available.

Chief executive Bernard Burns said: "Trading for the 12 months to the 30th September 2009 was in line with our expectations with relatively strong consumer demand being slightly tempered by retailer stock reductions.

"Due to the wet conditions throughout the north of England and Scotland during July and August the peat harvest was lower than expected but considerably better than in 2008.  The company therefore expects to be able to meet customer requirements from its own resources without the need to purchase peat or substitute materials from third parties during the coming year.

"Discussions remain ongoing with Natural England over Bolton Fell compensation and we hope to be able to provide a further update along with our year end results in January 2010."


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