DATED: 17TH JULY 2017
TRADING STATEMENT FOR THE FIRST SIX MONTHS
I am pleased to provide a trading update for the first six months of 2017.
- The Group has performed well during the all-important gardening season with total sales for the first half of 2017 10% higher than 2016 and 6% higher on a like-for-like basis, excluding Harlow and Coton Orchard.
- There was like for like growth of just over 6% in the UK and just under 4% in the Channel Islands.
- The Group's overall sales growth for the first six months outperformed the wider industry according to the latest data from the Garden Centre Association.
- The integration of Coton Orchard is progressing well and the £1.4m redevelopment of the site has just started, which, along with the acquisition of the restaurant on site that we expect to complete over the Summer, should turn it into a centre delivering more than £4m turnover.
- The refurbishment of St. Peter's Garden Centre completed in April and early signs are very encouraging with strong profit growth at the centre in spite of the disruption caused by the works. Grosvenor is the next centre that will be upgraded and the first phase is planned to finish at the end of September.
- In January our planning application to expand the building at Newbridge Garden Centre from 2,000m2 to 4,500m2 was approved and work is expected to start in the first quarter of 2018.
- In May the Group signed a 35 year lease for Bridgford Garden Centre, which will open in March 2018 following a £4.5m fit-out that starts in November 2017 and has the potential to produce a turnover of £10m per annum.
- In June we received planning permission to build a new 5,000m2 garden centre at the site of our existing Fermoys Garden Centre in Devon. Work is currently scheduled to start before the end of the year, and the existing garden centre will continue to trade whilst the new centre is built.
- Chairman Simon Burke commented, "The Board is very pleased with the performance of the Group so far in 2017. As always the season has been different this year in terms of the weather patterns, but we have traded successfully again. The impact of Brexit and UK political uncertainty on the UK consumer continue to be at the forefront of our minds but we are not yet seeing any significant repercussions. Margins have been maintained despite the weakening of sterling. We are making steady progress with the redevelopment of our existing estate and with the evaluation of a significant number of opportunities for new sites, and we expect to have more news in due course."