Following speculation over the future of the Woodcote Green Garden Centre site, it has been announced today that Wyevale Garden Centres (‘WGC’) has agreed the sale of the centre to Dobbies Garden Centre Centres.
The news follows the announcement that Dobbies acquired five other WGC garden centres earlier this month.
Located in Wallington, Surrey, Woodcote Green Garden Centre reported sales of £16.2million in 2016. Formerly owned by Chris Milan, who passed away last year, the centre was bought by WGC in 2016 and run as a stand-alone entity within the Wyevale Group.
Two weeks ago DIY Week reported that developers had put in a successful bid to take on the site but had pulled the plug upon discovering they would be unable to build houses on the suite, as planned.
WCG chief executive Roger Mclaughlan said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of Woodcote Green to Dobbies, one of the UK’s biggest and most experienced garden centre operators. We would like to thank our great colleagues at this centre, who have made a huge contribution to the business, and wish them well for the next stage of their growth and development under Dobbies’ ownership.”
Dobbies CEO Graeme Jenkins said: “The acquisition of Woodcote Green represents another step in our growth plan and expands our footprint in the South of England. There is a great team at Woodcote Green who have succeeded in creating one of the UK’s best garden centres and we very much look forward to welcoming them to the Dobbies’ family.”
The sale is expected to complete at the end of this week and will bring Dobbies Garden Centres’ estate to 40 centres across the UK. Woodcote Green will become the largest garden centre in the Dobbies Group.
Meanwhile, Woodcote Green’s wholesale nursery business is still up for sale separately with Quinton Edwards. The property, which sits immediately to the front of the garden centre business, occupies a 1.7-acre site and comprises around 44,000sq ft of glasshouse space and further ancillary buildings. The site benefits from exactly the same planning consent as the garden centre, allowing a prospective buyer the opportunity to refurbish the existing glasshouses in a similar way to Woodcote Green and set up a garden centre and restaurant.
WGC has received a significant number of offers for all or part of the remaining WGC business from national, regional and financial operators as well as local entrepreneurs.
WGC CFO Anthony Jones said: “Since the launch of the sale process in May we have already sold 29 centres and are currently evaluating a wide range of competitive offers from the group buyers, regional operators and local entrepreneurs. We look forward to further positive discussions with all potential buyers.”
Christie & Co, the specialist business property advisor managing the sale process on behalf of WGC, has run a two-phase process that has achieved considerable interest from a wide variety of buyers. The opportunity to run one, a small group or a portfolio of garden centres has ignited interest within the sector and beyond, and Christie & Co continue to liaise with phase 2 bidders as the process continues.