Soggy summer hits Sinclair

Record downpours that kept green-fingered enthusiasts out of the garden this summer have sent demand for compost plunging and triggered a profit warning from the horticultural specialist William Sinclair.

Shares in the 162-year-old group, which sells compost and seed trays, sank 7 per cent to 150p as it counted the cost of the wettest summer for 100 years. Sinclair is wrestling with a near 20 per cent decline in the market for gardening goods over the past 12 months, despite rising demand for slug pellets as the wet weather brought out the garden pests.

Floods also severely hampered the company's efforts to harvest peat – a key compost ingredient – from its bogs in the North.

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