Wyevale Garden Centres has agreed the sale of eight of its largest garden centres to Alan Roper’s 21-strong Blue Diamond chain.
Blue Diamond, currently the UK’s third biggest garden centre operator will grow its portfolio further with the acquisition of Wyevale’s Bicester, Cadbury, Cardiff, Endsleigh, Melbicks, Percy Thrower's, Sanders and Weybridge centres
Wyevale Garden Centres (WGC) chief executive Roger Mclaughlan said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of eight of our largest centres to Blue Diamond, one of the UK’s biggest and most experienced garden centre operators. We would like to thank our great colleagues at these centres, who have been central to our turnaround in the past few years, and wish them well for the next stage of their business’s growth and development under Blue Diamond’s ownership.”
Blue Diamond has already grown its business significantly with acquisitions of independent garden centre operators, including Grosvenor Garden Centre, Fermoys, Polhill and, most recently, Orchard Park. The £115million business currently has five new-build developments in the pipeline. It is projecting turnover of £120million from both the new builds and Wyevale acquisitions.
Managing director Alan Roper commented on the deal: “We are delighted to be acquiring these fantastic centres. Over the next three years we plan to invest £16million to remodel and transform them into destination centres modelled around our Redfields Garden & Living Centre in Hampshire, and our Blue Diamond Garden and Home store near Nottingham. We look forward to working with our new colleagues across the centres and welcoming them into the Blue Diamond family.”
In separate transactions, WGC has also agreed the sale of two further centres in Alfold and Binfield, to Q Developments and Spitfire Bespoke Homes respectively, as well as the sale of a parcel of excess land adjacent to its Beaconsfield centre to Oakford Homes. All three sites are likely to be redeveloped for residential use.
WGC chief financial officer Anthony Jones explained: “These centres were previously identified for potential redevelopment as part of the company’s active portfolio management strategy. We continue to explore all opportunities on non-core centres as part of the ongoing sale process. We are very grateful for the dedication and commitment of the teams at these centres.”
As the UK’s largest garden centre chain, WGC operated 145 centres across the UK. Discussions on the sale to Blue Diamond and the individual centre sales started before the appointment of Christie & Co to explore offers for all or part of the remaining WGC business and that process is continuing. WGC has received a significant number of offers for all or part of the remaining WGC business from national, regional and financial operators as well as local entrepreneurs.