Wyevale owner abandons plans

Wyevale owner Sir Tom Hunter has abandoned his plans to take over flowers and gardening mail-order firm Flying Brands after failing to agree on a price.

Wyevale was due to complete its refinancing on 14 January as GR went to press, on a debt for an equity deal with HBOS. See interview with new chief executive officer Nicholas Marshall on p13.

The garden-centre market remains "fundamentally strong" despite the sliding economy, and is well-placed to weather the credit crunch, according to market research firm MTW Research.

National Garden Gift Vouchers are being advertised on television for the first time. Filming for the ad took place at Leighton Buzzard Garden Centre, which reported an uplift in sales because of the publicity.

All-In-One Garden Centre of Middleton, Rochdale, has joined the Future Marketing Group.

Fosters Garden Centre near Rotherham, South Yorkshire, received permission to refurbish an existing farm building through Malcolm Scott Consultants.

The Garden Centre Association (GCA) GRO buying group is more necessary now than ever due to the financial crisis.

Garden centre owners say the 2.5 per cent cut in VAT to 15 per cent for 13 months from 1 December is "a total waste of time" and could cost centres up to £50,000 to implement.

Bosch is creating 100 jobs at its factory in Stowmarket, Suffolk, to make new gardening tools, while at the same time looking to make 250 people redundant in other areas of its business.

Wyevale Garden Centres' chief operating officer Andrew Livingston is leaving the company to join DIY retailer Screwfix.

Wyevale chief executive Nicholas Marshall has promoted long-serving Country Gardens buyer Steve Pitcher to purchasing director.

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