Opportunities In This Resurgent Market


Quinton Edwards and Quintons are on the panel of agents for the Bank of England who compile information nationwide on business conditions and The Bank of England’s Report for March 2014 states-

• “Retail sales and consumer services turnover have increased over the past three months. The recovery in the housing market has continued”
• “Investment intentions point to moderate growth in capital expenditure over the next twelve months, whilst turnover in business services has also increased”
• “Manufacturing output for the domestic market continues to grow steadily, as has export growth and construction output growth has risen further, with credit availability continuing to increase gradually with demand edging higher”
• “Employment intentions point to modest headcount growth. Recruitment difficulties are getting greater and labour costs per employee have continued to grow moderately.”

All of the above, plus the current good weather point towards what we hope could be a very good season for the Garden Centre industry; perhaps the best since 2008.

However, in order to maximise the value of your Garden Centre, it is important not just to focus on the business, turnover, gross margin and costs but also the asset, the land, infrastructure and buildings.

In this regard, there are a number of elements that should be considered:-

1. A review of your existing infrastructure and buildings. Are they being maintained to a high enough standard? Is your retail environment as good as it could be? Should you be implementing a planned preventative maintenance programme?

2. Can you improve/enlarge your existing retail area? Do you have some storage areas that should be retail? Do you have dark or difficult corners where better customer flow could be achieved resulting in higher retail sales?

3. Do you have room for more Garden Centre buildings? Either to increase the retail accommodation or for concessions?

4. If your Garden Centre fronts a major A road or you have a spare acre or two, have you considered obtaining planning consent for a hotel, which could share the car park in the evenings?
With recent changes to the planning regulations, it can now be easier to obtain planning consent than it was in the past. In this regard, we are aware of a number of businesses who are expecting to obtain planning consent on part or on their entire site for residential development.

5. If you are a smaller Garden Centre or Plant Centre and do not have a house on site it may be worth taking advice as to whether consent would be granted for a modest tied dwelling. You do not have to build it or occupy it, but obtaining planning consent adds value and marketability. It may be possible to generate between £50,000 and £100,000 of value on a relatively small piece of unused land by obtaining such consent.

Unlike most commercial property, Garden Centres and Plant Centres often sit on relatively large areas of land, and obtaining change of use on even small areas can generate high returns.

One of our clients has over a period of time made circa £500,000 every two or three years by optimising their development opportunities.

If you require business or property advice for your Garden Centre or Horticultural buinsess please contact us on 01635 551441.