Family-run garden centre chain Squire's has confirmed that it has acquired Shoots Garden Centres for an undisclosed sum.
The deal completed yesterday, taking Squires' total number of centres to 14. Under the terms of the deal, Shoots' three centres in Stanmore, Middlesex, Washington, West Sussex and Cobham, Surrey will continue to trade as normal. Squire's explained that the "strong Shoots brand" fits well with Squire's and that, with many common departments in both businesses, the acquisition is "an exciting opportunity".
Squire's chairman Colin Squire said: "This acquisition reinforces our commitment to the sector and our belief that there are still many opportunities for independent garden centres to prosper."
Shoots was established by Piers Mummery and Jamie Malcolm in 2004. The business expanded with the acquisition of two garden centres: Gardens Etc in Stanmore in 2007 and Seymours Garden Centre in Cobham in 2008. For the year ended August 31, 2009 Shoots reported a turnover of £6.8m, up 18% on the previous year, with gross profit up 23%. Both businesses operate on a similar gross margin, with Shoots reporting 48.6% and Squire's 49.6% in its latest accounts.
Mr Mummery told DIY Week that the sale had been on the cards for a while and that the two businesses were "a perfect fit". "The whole financial landscape of the sector had changed and for the garden centre to grow it needed a business with the depth of resource to deliver. It's a tough climate and joining forces is the right thing to do." He added that the approach from Squire's, "ticked all the boxes".
Squire's HR and marketing director Sarah Squire told DIY Week that there are no plans to rebrand the Shoots centres under the Squire's name during the busy spring/summer trading period. "We want to get on with trading as normal and selling plants. There will be no immediate transformation."
While some reports have suggested Mr Mummery is leaving the garden industry, he said today: ". I love the sector, I love the people and anything I do I would like to think will still be affiliated with it." He wouldn't reveal any definite plans but added: "I'm very open minded. I'm not retiring...there are plenty of cracking opportunities around."