Keen to put “inaccurate gossip” to bed, the company has made an announcement about the state of play with Gardman since it bought the business out of administration last month.
Despite what it describes as a “complex and challenging process”, Westland says “real progress is being made” and that Gardman is developing well under its ownership. A strong focus has been put on improving stock availability, as Westland believes retail customers were missing out and unable to maximise the full potential of the Gardman portfolio. It revealed that sales volumes are climbing steadily and are already close to last year’s levels.
Westland operations director Peter Madden, sales director John Mcdowell and Crest managing director Nick Davies are reportedly, “working tirelessly” to bring the Gardman business within the Westland structure and ways of working.
Gardman suffered a devastating fire in March this year, which completely destroyed its main UK warehouse and distribution centre in Daventry. The company made a move back to its old warehouse facility at Kings Lynn to supply customers until a permanent warehousing solution could be identified but rumours about a possible closure dogged the business until it was finally announced that Gardman called in administrators on October 16. Immediately following appointment of Toby Underwood and Ian Green of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the company’s business and assets were sold to Westland Limited, including the transfer of all employees.
As the acquisition has been the subject of much speculation within the industry, Westland has issued the following statement to update on the progress since its takeover.
“Acquiring Gardman from administration has been a complex and challenging process, but what is clear is that the loyalty and support the customer is showing Gardman is beyond all expectations. Within just a few short weeks, order volume is returning and is now close to that of last year’s levels, highlighting the industry support for Gardman and the relevance of the product offer.
“Gardman has a strong product range with exceptional positioning and quality, which is sector leading in many areas. The opportunity across all categories is significant in each and every area, from lighting, garden decoration to bird food. We can already see that the products have far exceeded our expectations and have a strong fit into the Westland ethos. There is an exciting future ahead for all our categories.
“For the past few years, retailers and customers have not been able to maximise the Gardman portfolio to its full potential. It is our job now to turn this around and make every brand, from Cole & Bright, Grow-it, Gardman bird, through to Eden Bloom, a success for all retailers and consumers.
We have already made significant progress in key areas - stock availability is getting stronger by the day and we are in a strong financial position to secure stock when required. This initial progress and the support from our suppliers will deliver over 95% availability for the coming season.
“We feel very confident that our customers’ day-to-day requirements are ready to be serviced by the existing Gardman sales team. We have spent a significant amount of time with the team and a strong emphasis is now placed on pre-season and delivering the 2019 plan. The team is very well equipped to fully support retailers and all the inaccurate gossip in the trade around Gardman can now be put to bed!”
The company added: “We are also pleased to announce our ongoing support of the Royal British Legion Poppy appeal. It is a fantastic initiative and we, as an industry, should maximise the opportunity to support such a worthwhile cause.
“We have an outstanding and dedicated Gardman team and we are fully focused on delivering the best possible for 2019 season.”