Business Week: Wyevale blooms

Its latest acquisition, Newbury-based Country Gardens, will boost the number of Wyevale garden centres from around 80 to more than 120, and will boost turnover significantly in 2001.

But analysts are predicting that the 2000 figures, due to be unveiled next Wednesday morning, will also show a marked increase on 2000.

Estimates suggest the company will unveil a turnover of around £103m, up 8% on last year’s £95m figure.

Profits are predicted to be around #16m, which would be a 10% increase on the prior year.

The finance director who has been tending this growth is chartered accountant Steve Murfin, who is also company secretary.

Wyevale’s growth has been boosted by the increasing popularity of gardening as a leisure activity, a fact the company acknowledged at last year’s results announcement.

Chairman Brian Evans, added: ‘We remain confident the Wyevale strategy of pursuing an ambitious acquisition programme, together with our refurbishment plans for improving our retail layouts on existing centres and developing further our product range, will continue to bear fruit and enable us to exploit the long term growth potential of the business.’

The acquisition of Country Gardens allows the threesome to demonstrate to analysts next week that they are keeping to their plan.

Evans’ late father-in-law Harry Williamson established the roots of what is now Wyevale on the outskirts of Hereford in 1932.

Initially a five-acre rose field, the site was expanded by Williamson after he returned from a trip to the US in 1960s. Copying what he had seen over there, he set up what could have been the UK’s first garden centre on his return.

A branch near Bristol was opened in 1967 and further centres were acquired in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1987, with 14 centres, the largest garden centre group in the UK – Wyevale was floated on the stock exchange.

Today, boosted by the acquisitions of rivals Cramphorn in 1991 and Jackswood in 1996, it has 80 Centres and four garden shops throughout England and Wales, Wyevale is by far the UK’s largest garden centre Group.

The original site is home to the company’s head office and 44,000 sq.ft flagship garden centre.


Product and company information can be found at
Results 1999
Turnover: £95m
Operating profit: £15m
Earnings per share: 23.5p
Auditor: BDO Stoy Hayward.

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