Blue Diamond to step-up expansion programme

Blue Diamond has revealed plans to shift its garden centre expansion programme up a gear, in the expectation of increasing its profits over the next five years.

Speaking to Garden Centre Retail, MD Alan Roper talked about Blue Diamond’s recent acquisition of Trelawney garden centre in Cornwall, as well as outlining what he believes to be the benefits for centres working with the company.

He said: “We’re stepping up our acquisition – we’ve been doing three every two years, we’re now doing two businesses every year. We’re looking for freeholds and leaseholds, which is how we expand. We’re keen to grow.

“With Trelawney – which is a leasehold -, David Danning still owns the property, on which we pay commercial rent on a 35-year basis. At the same time, he wanted to remain part of the industry, because he’d been involved for 40 years, and his parents owned the site. He now works for us part time as part of the sundries buying team.”

He continued: “If there’s any garden centre owner that doesn’t want to sell their property, and wants their family brand to continue, Blue Diamond’s a good place to come to. If we acquire the types and size of business that we have in mind, we project growth from £82 million to £187 million in five years.”

Blue Diamond is the third largest garden centre retail group in the UK, with 17 sites across the country. The company’s profits, according to its MD, rose 35% in 2014.

Alongside Trelawney, its newest acquisition is the freehold Newbridge Nurseries in West Sussex, which the company bought at the beginning of this year.

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