Dorset: Garden centre chain signs £21.5m finance deal with HSBC

A Dorset-headquartered family-run garden centre chain, which has been operating for almost 140 years, has used part of a new £21.5 million finance facility from HSBC UK to undergo a complete redevelopment of one of its four garden centre sites.

Haskins Garden Centres, which was founded in 1882 by Harry Haskins, has used £14m of the package to re-build its Snowhill garden centre in West Sussex. The new site will include a 127,000 sq ft purpose-built retail shop and outdoor garden centre, a 440-seat self-service restaurant and car parking for 346 cars.

The new garden centre, which is due to open in February 2020 ahead of the busy spring season, will turnover more than £9 million per annum and result in the creation of an additional 60 jobs for the local economy.

The remaining £7.5m from HSBC UK will be used to refinance its existing debt facilities.

Julian Winfield, CEO at Haskins Garden Centres, said: “We were impressed by HSBC UK’s interest and understanding of our business, particularly by the local HSBC relationship team, led by Matt Phillips and Ben Hyslop who have a wealth of specialist horticultural and corporate experience. As a long-standing business, we look to make long-standing relationships with our partners, so we look forward to working with the wider team as we acquire new sites when the right locations become available.”

Anthony Reed, HSBC UK’s head of corporate banking for Hampshire & Dorset added: “We’re delighted to be working with such a well-established and successful business – and one that’s had a presence in our region for 137 years. With ambitions for a fifth and sixth site, our local team of finance specialists are well-placed to continue supporting Haskins with its exciting growth plans.”

The company has retained its existing, experienced horticultural, retail and catering team through the opening of a large temporary garden centre on the site while the redevelopment takes place.

Once the redevelopment is complete at the 8.3-acre site, customers will benefit from a consolidated garden centre, with all goods and services located in one contemporary high-quality building.

Haskins Garden Centres, which originated as plant nursery, is currently chaired by fourth-generation Haskins family member, Warren Haskins, who took over the business in 1969 at the age of 20. Not long after, Warren opened his first retail shop which was soon to become the well-respected garden centre business it is today.

A time-lapse video of the development is available here: