Notcutts profits have halved after unfavourable exchange rates and increased costs in 2017.
Notcutts, based at Woodbridge, recorded a healthy rise in sales. They’re up 4.8% to £74.7m, after adopting a strategy to increase footfall. But it also saw a 51.5% drop in operating profits to £1m, while its gross profit margin reduced 1% to 46.9%.
Nick Burrows said the company was pleased to see footfall grow during the year. Conversion rates across its 18 garden centres improved. Customer and staff satisfaction on the rise.
“Like others in the sector we experienced pressure on margins and increased costs” he admitted.
“In such an economy we opted not to pass cost increases onto customers. Our approach was on driving increased footfall and gaining market share as a solid foundation.”
A programme of developments and refurbishment works is continuing as part of a five-year plan.
Chairman Nicky Dulieu said works at Cranleigh, St. Albans, Peterborough, Victoria (Pontefract) and Solihull were completed. It has improved the environment for customers.
“Upgraded colleague facilities were also completed in many our garden centres,” she added.
Notcutts has also opened two major redevelopment projects. These are new format restaurants in Rivendell (Widnes) and Woodford Park (Stockport).
Planning permissions are secured for future developments in Woodbridge, Garden Pride (Ditchling), Solihull, Wheatcroft (Nottingham) and Booker.
By the end of 2018 the roll out of the new Notcutts brand across all 18 centres will happen. An online store will be launched early in 2019.
Show gardens now feature at 10 of its outlets. These are proving a ‘real point of difference’ and customer draw, the chain said.
Vice chairman Caroline Notcutt said: “I am so proud to see these superb show gardens in our garden centres.
“They play to our horticultural expertise and support our goal of bringing an ever wider experience for our customers.”
New menus have also been introduced in its restaurants.