Blue Diamond, Hillier and BGC all expand

Garden centre groups are busy with acquisitions


Three garden centre groups have been busy on the acquisition front in the past few days, with Blue Diamond buying Van Hage, and Hillier taking over Rosebourne, just after British Garden Centres added its fourth site for the year.

All the groups have a wide range of products on offer in addition to their horticulture sides, with large greeting card and gift sectors, plus restaurants, crafting, toys, and clothing areas, as well as special Christmas shops.

Above: Van Hage’s outlets at Great Amwell, Peterborough and Chenies now belong to Blue Diamond
Above: Van Hage’s outlets at Great Amwell, Peterborough and Chenies now belong to Blue Diamond

Taking on Van Hage’s three outlets – the flagship at Great Amwell, Ware, Chenies between Amersham and Rickmansworth, and Peterborough’s PE1 retail park site – grows Blue Diamond’s estate to 42 centres.

CEO Alan Roper told garden trade magazine GTN Xtra: “For me personally, this is a landmark acquisition, Van Hage’s was one of three garden centres in the early 90s I would visit as a younger man for inspiration and would feel in awe of what they had achieved. I never imagined that, one day, we would be the proud owner of such a business.”

Above: Hillier own Rosebourne’s sites at Weyhill, Hampton-In-Arden and Aldermaston
Above: Hillier now own Rosebourne’s sites at Weyhill, Hampton-In-Arden and Aldermaston

The Van Hage family has confirmed the sale with all colleagues and centres becoming part of Blue Diamond with immediate effect, with a statement saying and “they have both the resources and vision to further grow and develop our brand going forward”, while the three centres are expected to continue to trade under the family name.

Three sites are also involved in the recent Hillier deal, with the company having grown from 12 garden centres in 2019 to 22 now along with an online shop after taking on Rosebourne’s sites at Weyhill, Aldermaston and Hampton-In-Arden.

George Hillier, director of property, has been working with the Rosebourne team on the project, and said: “I would like to thank everybody from the Rosebourne and Hillier teams who have collaborated to ensure this acquisition has been as smooth a process as possible.”

Above: BGC has renamed Whiteleys as Mirfield
Above: BGC has renamed Whiteleys as Mirfield

Meanwhile, British Garden Centres has recently added Whiteleys to its portfolio, and the company has followed its usual procedure by renaming it as Mirfield to recognise its location.

This is the fourth to join the family-run operator this year, cementing its position as the second largest garden centre group in the UK behind Dobbies, now with 62 outlets throughout England and Wales.

Top: Blue Diamond, Hillier and British Garden Centres are all expanding

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