Gifts Today magazine

Wyevale sells 8 garden centres

Buyers Blue Diamond promise £16, remodelling investment

Wyevale have sold their eight largest garden centres to Blue Diamond in the first deal following the appointment of property advisors to manage the process of selling all 145 outlets.

Retail Gazette reported that the centres in the deal include Bicester, Cardiff and Cadbury, and Wyevale have also separately agreed to the sale of their centres in Alfold and Binfield to Q Developments and Spitfire Bespoke Homes respectively.

Discussions concerning the sale to Blue Diamond began before Christie & Co were appointed to manage the sale of all or part of the Wyevale Garden centre business by the parent company Terra Firma in May.

Blue Diamond told Retail Gazette they plan to invest £16 million in remodelling the newly-acquired stores over the next three years to make them more like their Redfields Garden & Living Centre in Hampshire and Blue Diamond Garden & Home store near Nottingham.

Blue Diamond managing director Alan Roper said the company were 'delighted' by the acquisition. As the UK’s biggest garden centre chain, Wyevale recently revealed they have received a number of offers for all or part of their remaining business from national, regional and financial operators, as well as local business people.

'We continue to explore all opportunities on non-core centres as part of the ongoing sale process,' Wyevale chief financial officer Anthony Jones told Retail Gazette. 'We are very grateful for the dedication and commitment of the teams at these centres.'

The sales move came after Terra Firma made huge investments in their turnaround efforts which saw the retailers on track for their best May yet.

At the time chief executive Roger Mclaughlan said: 'Wyevale Garden Centres has transformed beyond recognition over the last few years, and our customers are responding really positively to all the improvements we’ve been making, with improved ranges, high stock availability and exceptional garden centre standards.

'Our improved business has engaged colleagues and put customers at the heart of what we do. Thanks to the hard work of all of our colleagues, we remain firmly on track to grow our sales and profits this year.'

Terra Firma’s vice president Justin King added: 'The improvements made by the new leadership team at Wyevale Garden Centres supported by 6000 dedicated colleagues, means that now is the right time to seek new, long-term ownership for the business.'

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