Nursery business sold to ex-employees

AN HISTORIC Woodbridge business has entered a new era following the sale of its nurseries arm.Notcutts Ltd, a prestigious family business set up 110 years ago, has sold its nurseries business to two former employees as it concentrates on its retail arm.

AN HISTORIC Woodbridge business has entered a new era following the sale of its nurseries arm.

Notcutts Ltd, a prestigious family business set up 110 years ago, has sold its nurseries business to two former employees as it concentrates on its retail arm.

The sale, to John Woods Nurseries Ltd, a new company formed by John Lord and John Kirkum, previously the managing director and finance director of Notcutts nurseries business, was made possible following a strategic review.

The review highlighted the benefits for Notcutts Ltd in having a tighter focus on its retail activities.


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Notcutts Ltd has 13 garden centres throughout the south-east employing more than 1,000 staff, and also retains a landscape, design and construction business based at Woodbridge and Solihull.

Before the split, the business had a turnover of around £40million.

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William Notcutt, deputy chairman of Notcutts Ltd, welcomed the sale, which was completed on August 24, and wished John Woods Nurseries success.

“I am confident that this change in ownership will enable the nurseries business to continue to flourish and as their largest customer we look forward to continuing a strong relationship,” he said.

“We can now focus on the exciting and evolving retail market secure in the knowledge that we have a very able plant supplier, freeing us from the business of plant production and wholesale sales.”

He said the company remained proud of its plant heritage and the important role of plants as part of its retail offering.

“We are focusing on the future, but at the same time are very proud of our heritage and very pleased that the nursery carries on, albeit with different owners,” he said. “We remain their largest customer.”

The nurseries side of the business employs around 140 people who have been transferred across to the new company.

John Lord, managing director and chairman of John Woods Nurseries Ltd, said the new firm was excited about the future it would have as a stand-alone business.

“I would like to thank all of our customers who have been very supportive throughout,” he said.

“Moving forward we will continue to build on our plant heritage, and implement further the strategy put into place two years ago to increase our internal efficiencies and develop our customer focus. With today's highly competitive environment I am sure there are many challenges ahead and we are in a stronger position than ever before to meet them.”

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