TRADING STATEMENT FOR THE SIX MONTHS ENDED
30 JUNE 2019
I am happy to be able to report to you that trade has been very strong in the first half of 2019, exceeding our expectations.
Total sales increased by 58% compared with the same period in 2018 and were 9% higher on a like for like basis (i.e. excluding the acquisition of the nine former Wyevale sites and the opening of Bridgford). Total sales in the UK grew by 66% and by 10% on a like for like basis. The Channel Islands recorded growth of 4%.
The former Wyevale centres enjoyed sales growth of 37% against 2018 under their previous owner, with some exceptional increases of 55% at Bicester, 53% at Cadbury and 40% at Endsleigh.
Once again our garden centres have outperformed the industry in terms of sales, customer number and average spend, as reported by the Garden Centre Association. There were particularly strong performances in Fashion, Garden Leisure and Gardening.
The main focus for the first half of 2019 has been the continuing integration of the former Wyevale centres, improving their trading performance and aligning their organisational and cost structures with our own, and refurbishing some of the key sites such as Bicester and Endsleigh. We have made excellent progress on this front, although much work remains to be done. The weather has been kinder and more consistent this year than 2018.
I am optimistic about the prospects for 2019 and beyond, with the continuing improvement of the nine former Wyevale sites we acquired last year and the potential of the six Wyevale sites we have just agreed to acquire. Whilst there remain risks, notably the performance of the UK economy and the impact of a 'hard' Brexit, I believe the Group is in robust shape and will continue to outperform the industry.
Group Finance Director and Company Secretary