Wyevale refocuses operations to attract retailers

Wyevale Nurseries has seen a dramatic turnaround in sales this year, by adjusting the business to appeal more to the retail market, according to sales director Doug Reade.

Reade said the firm is growing a wider range of varieties while reducing the volume of each variety to "make the offer more diverse and attractive to customers".

He added: "We used to produce 5,000 Choisya ternata but now we grow a smaller number of our varieties Choisya 'Aztec Pearl', Choisya ternata 'Sundance' and our new Choisya 'White Dazzler'.

He said growing a wider range for retail was a strategy inspired by a survey carried out in 2006 by consultant Neville Stein. "The feedback told us we needed to make ourselves more attractive to buyers."

Growing the wider range has been made possible by the new 0.4ha glasshouse built last November, which is used to condition crops and has led to a faster turnaround time.

Reade said that business suffered during last autumn and winter but the May to June period had been "buoyant".

"We've almost turned the seasons around," he said. "We went from having our chins on the floor at Christmas to having a good summer. It makes all the difference. Our sales to the retail sector are six per cent up like for like on the year trading period."

But Wyevale has seen a drop in the number of enquiries from landscaping contractors. "The contractors we have been talking to are much more nervous about where work will come from in the autumn and spring. Builders have mothballed everything."


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