Following the unpredictability of 2018’s weather, and the knock-on effect this has had on businesses in our industry, we have had an outstanding start to 2019 with our most successful half year of trading since the company was established almost 100 years ago.
Over our three business sectors, Wholesale Commercial, Wholesale Xpress and Garden Centre Sales, our orders grew by 20% with sales totalling £8m between October and March, an impressive increase of £1.37m on the same period last year.
More than 9,100 orders were placed and in excess of 3,000 deliveries carried out to locations across the UK.
February, in particular, had seen a record number of orders, with both sales and top-up orders proving extremely robust.
National infrastructure projects such as the redevelopment of the A50 trunk road in Staffordshire [link to blog] had given a boost to our clients in the landscaping sector, which in turn has benefited us here at Johnsons of Whixley.
An early spell of good weather brought a brisk garden centre trade that saw order books swell by around a fifth competed to last year – despite the huge question mark of Brexit still hanging over the industry.
We don’t know what’s on the horizon and as we are reliant on the economic and supply chain, Brexit has the potential to be catastrophic. It makes long-term planning very difficult for trading but one thing we can do is to invest in innovative new systems that will help us to retain the current buoyancy.
One such system is a new plant retail line that will significantly improve efficiency for our team on the nursery. We have invested £70,000 in a new mechanical line capable of processing up to 7,000 plants a day while halving the number of workers required to perform the task manually – vital if Brexit has an effect on staff numbers. This equates to a saving of around 228 personnel hours a week, or £1,000 per day, at peak times.
We are also looking to invest a further £100,000 in a substantial amount of covered growing and storage space at our Roecliffe site, to prepare for a Brexit eventuality that would affect imports of plants from Europe that we then grow and supply for our customers.
Posted 16th Apr 8:31am