Veg trend gives Klondyke growth

A SURGE in interest among recession-hit consumers in growing their own vegetables helped Klondyke, the Dumfriesshire garden centre business, beat the downturn and notch up a near 15 per cent rise in profits, its accounts showed yesterday.

The Thornhill-based firm, which operates 24 garden centres throughout the UK, including six in Scotland, saw pre-tax profits rise to 3.9 million in the year to 30 September, up 14.7 per cent from 3.4m the previous year.

Turnover grew by 12.1 per cent to 42.6m.

The directors' report said: "Despite poor weather in the month of May, good growing conditions prevailed for much of the main gardening season.

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"This has a positive effect on the sales of plants and horticultural sundries.

"The increased customer interest in 'grow your own' product also resulted in significant sales growth of all related products."

A rise in the sale of gift products also helped to bolster Klondyke's balance sheet.

The firm, which employs some 770 staff, said the current economic climate would "undoubtedly be a challenge" for retailers, but pointed to its "very encouraging" sales and profit numbers despite the state of the economy.

"The board believes that the relatively low average spend and the continued popularity of gardening will be major factors in combating the difficulties of economic pressures," it added.

Klondyke has garden centres in Inverness, Stirling, Polmont, Edinburgh, Livingston and Kelso north of the Border. It acquired Brookside Garden Centre in Poynton, Stockport, during the year.