Garden Centre Group blooms as buyers circle

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The Independent Online

More favourable weather and a stronger focus on plants has helped the Garden Centre Group return to sales growth this year after its profits tumbled in 2010. The 130-store retailer, which is up for sale for as much as £300m, has increased sales by 7 per cent this year, lifted by a storming performance during April's heatwave.

Private equity firms, Morrisons and Tesco – which owns the Dobbies garden centre chain – have requested sale documents for the Garden Centre Group, formerly called Wyevale. Its property has been valued at about £300m. But its profits fell to just £860,000 in 2010, down from £13.2m the year before. Unfavourable weather, notably December's snow, contributed to flat like-for-like sales.