Bents and Cowells take the top GCA plant awards

Bents and Cowells top the first day’s awards at the 2018 GCA conference. Also prominent were Fairways of Ashbourne, Stratford and Barton Grange Garden Centres. Read more

Ruxley Rose (Destination Garden Centre category) – Bents Garden & Home

Battery power drives Stihl’s sponsorship of Hillier at Chelsea

Stihl’s sponsorship of Hillier’s Chelsea exhibit underlines their drive to involve garden centres with the new era cordless garden tools, which will shortly be on sale at Hillier’s garden centres. Read more

Burgon & Ball is sold to Canadian Group (Updated)

Burgon & Ball has been acquired by Venanpri Tools, the owner of the Bellota and Corona brands.  Heather Culpan will continue to be involved in the business in a role yet to be determined.

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Heather Culpan

Wyevale Ashford to close this weekend

Wyevale’s Ashford garden centre in Kent is to close its doors on Sunday to make way for a new junction 10a on the M20. Read more

Christmas trading patterns have changed

Christmas buying is getting earlier and overall sales have dropped in many centres, not helped by snow on the peak live tree weekend, closing some centres. Despite this, overall garden centre sales are up for 2017. Read more

Snow affected Christmas Tree sales

Furniture outlet stores launch website is one of the first UK websites to offer the furniture outlet experience to online shoppers. Their offer includes garden furniture with a guarantee of the UK’s lowest prices. Read more

Ansell gets green light to rebuild

A year after its devastating fire Ansell receives planning permission to rebuild. Work starts in January, bigger than before. Read more

Ansell Garden Centre's new building

What can we learn from Dobbies’ latest accounts?

Dobbies Garden Centres delayed to the last minute the publication of their first accounts under its new private equity owners. They show how the trading arm has been separated from the properties. Read more

‘Out there’ plans set to continue growth at Thetford GC

Thetford’s expansion has lifted it into the GCA category for elite destination garden centres.  Further ‘out-there’ expansion is planned including a coffee shop in shipping containers – with a stage.   Read more

L-R Lucy and Jean Nixon, Shane Hinkley, head chef James Feuer and catering manager Lisa Billman.

Stax extends its garden portfolio with Husqvarna

Stax has followed up this autumn’s E.P. Barrus deal with a second that will add Flymo and McCulloch to its garden tools range. Read more

Simon Wright, Gary Fisher (Husqvarna), David Hibbert and Aaron Saunders

How sales have tumbled at Wyevale’s new centres

Accounts recently published show how sales have tumbled at garden centres acquired by Wyevale. The only exception is Woodcote Green, where the local management have been allowed to continue managing the garden centre. Read more

Rosebourne starts building its second centre

Rosebourne has started building its second garden centre at a site near Aldermaston. It will replicate the formula successfully developed at Andover which opened a year ago. Read more

The Rosebourne team: Neville Prest, Val Kempster, Salim Sajid and Jon Kitching

Bonnetts Garden Village opens its main store this weekend

Bonnetts Garden Village, the first garden centre for Chris Bonnett the owner of online retailer Gardening Express, is to open its main store on Saturday 11th November, having traded since late May in plants. Read more

Downtown submits plans for £125m designer village

Downtown Garden Centre near Grantham, part of the Oldrid Group, has submitted plans for an outlet village with 107 retail outlets and a new garden centre. Read more

Stax secures its supply chain with acquisition

Stax is to offer distribution to manufacturers following the acquisition of PDS Logistics last week. The deal will increase flexibility and improve availability as Stax takes control of its supply chain. Read more

Service pushes Woodlodge sales over £20m

Woodlodge turnover has grown from £11.5m to over £20m in the 4 years since Michael Wooldridge took control of the business. Plus, last January, the company won the coveted cup for GCA Supplier of the Year.  Gardenforum paid him a visit. Read more

Michael Wooldridge

Directors leave as Wyevale cuts head office numbers

Two directors are leaving Wyevale as the garden centre group acknowledges challenging trading conditions and reduces head office numbers. Read more

Steve Masters and Lisa Cherry

Dobbies reshuffles Head Office

Dobbies has reshuffled its head office team as Andrew West and Lorrie Robertson leave for personal reasons. Nicholas Marshall remains as chief executive and Andrew Bracey as chairman. Read more

Andrew Bracey, Nicholas Marshall and Graeme Jenkins

Glendale buys Evesham nursery from Chamberlains

Glendale makes it 13 with the purchase of Harvington nursery in Evesham from Chamberlains on 2nd of January. Read more

Glendale's Badsey Nursery

Tildenet acquires Fleximas

Tildenet has acquired the specialist textiles and netting supplier, Fleximas, based in Burton-on-Trent. Read more

A round-up of 2017, a year dominated by Brexit and Xylella

2017 started with a flourish but lost momentum and settled to be an OK year. Suppliers worried about Brexit, the living wage, higher costs and Wyevale. Retailers and growers worried about Xylella. Takeover activity reached new peaks among suppliers, but no major garden centres changed hands. The industry said goodbye to some old friends. Read our review – (open to non-subscribers). Read more

Bunnings adds a small format store to the UK trial

Bunnings UK continues to experiment with different formats with the imminent opening of a small format store in Bicester. Read more

Layout of Bunnings on Launton Road, Bicester

Amazon patents a new garden service

According to Modern Farmer, Amazon has patented an image recognition service that will provide gardeners with planting advice and a view of what their garden could look like in say 5 years. Read more

LBS rescue should complete next week

The future of horticultural wholesaler, LBS, looks secure as 2 new investors are to take control. The company hopes a CVA will be agreed with creditors next week. Read more

Bents crown their 80th year with the GCA Christmas display award

Bents have wrestled the GCA Christmas Display award back from Barton Grange, while Castle Gardens in Sherborne prove invincible yet again in the category for smaller garden centres. Read more

Castle Gardens Christmas Display

Hillier celebrates a record year

The Hillier Awards Night celebrated a record year for the group. Suppliers and garden centres collected their awards as Robert Hillier praised the impact Chris Francis has made since taking control in March 2014. Read more

Chris Francis with Robert Hillier, celebrating his 50 years service

Wyevale calls suppliers together for a progress update

Over 100 suppliers attended a meeting this morning to hear Wyevale’s CEO Roger McLaughlan and his team explain how the group is getting its act together and improving standards. Read more

Roger McLaughlan

B&M on track for 50 new UK stores this year

B&M the discount home and garden retailer increased sales by 17% as consumers shift to discount formats. Margins fell, partly due to end of season clearance on gardening and outdoor products. Read more

Stewarts apologises as demand for Santa swamps its website and phones

Demand for Christmas at garden centres seems higher than ever on the South coast. Haskins are expecting over 1m visitors, while Stewarts Garden Centres payment gateway and phones became swamped as 10,000 tried to book their visit to Santa. Read more

Haskins Christmas crew at West End

LBS Horticulture in administration

It has been confirmed that LBS Worldwide Ltd is in administration. It is continuing to trade, managed by the administrators. Read more

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