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DATED: 17TH FEBRUARY 2015

TRADING STATEMENT FOR THE YEAR ENDED
31 DECEMBER 2014

 

Dear Shareholder

I am pleased to provide a trading update for the year ended 31 December 2014, in advance of the final results that we expect to announce in the first half of May 2015.

  • Total sales were up 13% or over £8m on 2013 
  • Like-for-like sales, excluding the new acquisition Trelawney in Cornwall purchased in December 2014 and Fermoy's acquired in October 2013, were up 8% or nearly £5m on 2013 
  • Gross margin was broadly in line with expectations 
  • Payroll and other costs to the end of December 2014 were under control 
  • The Board expects the full year profit before tax to be in line with the guidance previously given of £4.4m 
  • The Group completed the purchase of Trelawney Garden Centre based in Cornwall, a leasehold property with a 25-year lease and a turnover of £4.2m, in the middle of December 2014 
  • The Group also acquired Newbridge Nurseries based in Sussex at the end of January 2015. It is a freehold property with a turnover of nearly £5m 
  • Both sites are expected to make a positive contribution to profitability immediately 
  • Gearing was 41% at the end of December 2014, although it has increased temporarily above the Board's target of 50% following the acquisition of Newbridge in January and will fall to below 50% by the end of 2015 
  • The redevelopment of Redfields has been completed and our customers and the industry have responded favourably. Turnover has increased by over 46% and profit even more 
  • Chairman Geoff Dorey comments, "The Group has traded strongly in 2014 thanks to our excellent offer, customer focus, dedicated and loyal employees, the improved United Kingdom economy and more favourable weather conditions than in 2012 and 2013. Our forecast for 2015 will reflect continued successful growth with additional profit being generated by our new centres at Trelawney and Newbridge." 
  • He continues, "The Directors have decided that the continued expansion on the mainland requires the Board to be strengthened by an additional non-executive director with appropriate retail experience. I am therefore extremely pleased that Simon Burke has accepted this position. Amongst other roles he has been Chief Executive of Virgin Entertainment Group and Hamleys Group Limited and currently is a director of the BBC and the Co-operative Group."

Yours faithfully,

Richard Hemans
Group Finance Director and Company Secretary

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