Squire’s charts a steady course

by | Apr 23, 2024 | Centre News, News | 0 comments

Squire's steady financial results

‘Charting a steady course in marginally calmer waters’ probably best describes Squire’s performance in their financial year ending 31 July 2023, after the somewhat rolling seas of the Covid and immediate post Covid era.

This year’s results were, as anticipated, a little below the results for last year, with retail sales of £66.3m (2022: £68.2m). Within that total, Garden Centre sales dropped to £56.9m (2022: £59.9m), while Restaurant sales rose by 13% to £9.4m (2022: £8.3m). E-commerce recorded sales of £1.1m (+10%) in its second full year and the company is pleased with the steady development of this channel. The newly-acquired Barnsfold Nurseries business contributed £1.6m of sales in its maiden seven months with the group, taking total Group sales to £67.9m.

Demand for plants and horticultural products remained strong, well above pre-Covid levels. And, as the supply chain stabilised, stock levels were reduced, particularly in garden furniture.

Underlying profit before tax dropped to £2.4m (2022: £4.0m) with an additional contribution of £0.4m from Barnsfold.

Over the course of the year, capital expenditure focused on improvements across several Centres, rather than one large project. A number of these investments were aimed at carbon and energy cost reduction. With a favourable cash position at the year-end, the company is in a good place to look for further acquisitions and to invest in existing sites.

Following the year end, Squire’s has reported a satisfactory Christmas. Although volumes were down, sell through was good and the sales were more profitable. With the spring season in its early stages, plants and gardening again look encouraging. Sarah Squire comments: “Calendar year 2024 started well for Squire’s. We were thrilled that Hersham was awarded the GCA Ruxley Rose trophy in the Garden Centre category. With Woking coming third and Wokingham in the top ten, this cements our confidence in the plant side of our business.”

Despite wider geopolitical turmoil, domestic political uncertainty and a challenging UK economy, Squire’s has confidence in its teams and the robust nature of the industry. The company will continue to invest in the business and its people. Priorities over the coming year are replacing the roof at Twickenham and the garden furniture shop at Milford. Both projects include solar panels. Work will continue on the company’s sustainability programme, and its commitment to charitable and community involvement.

Sarah Squire adds: “Above all, I remain full of admiration for my talented colleagues, in our Centres, Restaurants, Nurseries and in Group Office, who have shown such commitment and worked so tirelessly in the volatile landscape of FY2023, and who continue to consistently give of their best in 2024”.

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