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UK: The Blue Diamond Awards at Athena, Leicester

The Blue Diamond annual awards were held last Thursday, March 9, at Athena in Leicester, where hundreds of staff from our 42 garden centers attended.

Managing Director, Alan Roper, said Blue Diamond would become the number one turnover garden center group this year at £330m, ahead of Dobbies, up from £269m in 2022.

He said Blue Diamond is not a company but rather a place about people: "What makes a company strong and successful is people."

Blue Diamond bought Van Hage's three centers in 2022, and Roper paid tribute to the founding family.

They also announced at Easter that Blue Diamond would add two centers with £18m turnover to the group, one in the Cotswolds area and one towards East Anglia.

Alan spoke of "headwinds" and mitigating increasing costs. He said other businesses would fail in the next year or two, and you need to act now against inflation. 

Fashion and pets performed the best in 2022. The margin was around 45-46%, and ex-Wyevale centers can improve that, with customer numbers down -4% since 2019 but average spending up £7 to around £33, well ahead of GCA average numbers.

Capex in 2022 of £11.5m included work at Newbridge, Sanders, Bicester, Wilton, Springfield, Melbicks, and Mere Park.

Among the award winners were:

  • Stock management - Sanders
  • Home - Coton/Evesham
  • Customer engagement - Canterbury/Cadbury
  • Fashion - Cardiff Brambridge
  • Plants - Harlow/Bicester - Hardy plants - Tunbridge Wells, Bridgemere, and Indoor plants-Weybridge/Cardiff
  • Gardening team - Harlow/St Peters - Seeds and bulbs - Nailsworth/Percy Throwers -Growing media and pots - Trelawney/Le Friquet and Wild animal-Nailsworth/Le Friquet
  • Christmas - Fryers/Newbridge
  • Food- Cardiff/Trentham/Endsleigh
  • Head chef - Grosvenor
  • Kipling of the year - Bicester
  • Restaurant of the year - Nailsworth/Cardiff

Garden center of the year was Brambridge for core garden centers and Grosvenor for our destination centers.

For more information:
Blue Diamond

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