Business as usual Wyevale Garden Centres has stressed that it has been ‘business as usual’ since the announcement that its 145 stores were for sale in May. Speculation has been rife as to how the UK’s largest garden centre retail business will be sold off by owner Terra Firma. GTN has been tracking developments closely and the general consensus seems to be there won’t be a single buyer for all 145 centres. But, understandably, interest has been high from a number of potential buyers. The deadline for bids in the first stage of Terra Firma’s sale has now passed and it will be interesting to see what transpires over the coming weeks. Since Terra Firma announced the Wyevale portfolio was for sale in May, the retailer has been keen to point out it has been ‘business as usual’. Infact, the heatwave of the first May bank holiday delivered Wyevale’s’ highest ever trading weekend – up 61% on the same weekend in 2017 – followed by a record week of sales, up 39% on the prior year. GTN asked CEO Roger Mclaughlan (pictured right), how pleased he was with the way the group was performing during this period of change. This was his reaction. “We are very pleased with our performance. Customers are reacting well to the changes we have made, and we are delighted to have delivered a record breaking May performance,” said Roger. “Our focus is ‘business as usual’. We are well set up for peak trading, and all colleagues are focused on ensuring we continue to deliver best-in-class retail experiences for our customers.” How was he keeping staff morale high during a period of uncertainty? “Great people are at the heart of our business,” he answered. “As part of our turnaround strategy, we’ve invested in our colleagues, and our customers are already
8 July 2018
“We believe that any prospective buyer will see the value in the strategy we’ve set out” seeing the difference. We believe that any future owner would see the value in our colleagues. “We have held conversations with our colleagues across the business since the sale was announced and very much believe in the importance of maintaining an open dialogue with them to ensure any concerns they may have are addressed directly.” So did he believe there was a winning formula throughout the Wyevale Garden Centres business? “Our current strategy is focused on building and strengthening the fundamentals of our business and delivering a more compelling customer proposition and experience.
“We have improved ranges, increased stock availability, and delivered exceptional garden centre standards. This has been delivered through the focus on our strategic goals of investing in people, upgrading systems and controls as well as improving the supply chain process. “We believe that any prospective buyer will see the value in the strategy we’ve set out and implemented over the last two years, including investment in our people, the core infrastructure, systems and processes of the business.” There will probably be many twists and turns ahead before the sale is completed. GTN will keep you up-to-date with the latest news through its digital newsletter GTN Xtra.