Notcutts sees profits drop as it targets footfall and market share

Notcutts profits have halved after unfavourable exchange rates and increased costs in 2017.
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Notcutts, based at Woodbridge, recorded a healthy rise in sales. They’re up 4.8% to ?74.7m, after adopting a strategy to increase footfall. But it also saw a 51.5% drop in operating profits to ?1m, while its gross profit margin reduced 1% to 46.9%.
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Nick Burrows said the company was pleased to see footfall grow during the year. Conversion rates across its 18 garden centres improved. Customer and staff satisfaction on the rise.
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?Like others in the sector we experienced pressure on margins and increased costs? he admitted.
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?In such an economy we opted not to pass cost increases onto customers. Our approach was on driving increased footfall and gaining market share as a solid foundation.?
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A programme of developments and refurbishment works is continuing as part of a five-year plan.
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Chairman Nicky Dulieu said works at Cranleigh, St. Albans, Peterborough, Victoria (Pontefract) and Solihull were completed. It has improved the environment for customers.
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?Upgraded colleague facilities were also completed in many our garden centres,? she added.
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Notcutts has also opened two major redevelopment projects. These are new format restaurants in Rivendell (Widnes) and Woodford Park (Stockport).
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Planning permissions are secured for future developments in Woodbridge, Garden Pride (Ditchling), Solihull, Wheatcroft (Nottingham) and Booker.
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By the end of 2018 the roll out?of the new Notcutts brand across all 18 centres will happen. An online store will be launched early in 2019.
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Show gardens now feature at 10 of its outlets. These are proving a ?real point of difference? and customer draw, the chain said.
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Vice chairman Caroline Notcutt said: ?I am so proud to see these superb show gardens in our garden centres.
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?They play to our horticultural expertise and support our goal of bringing an ever wider experience for our customers.?
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New menus have also been introduced in its restaurants.

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