Blue Diamond posted a leap in its full-year profits and like-for-like sales as it continues to expand its bricks-and-mortar footprint.

The UK’s third-largest garden centre retailer posted a 28% jump in pre-tax profits to £8.5m in the 12 months to December 31, 2016, while like-for-like sales increased 8%.

Turnover across the specialist retailer’s 19-strong UK store estate grew 12% bolstered by the acquisition of two new outlets in Essex and Cambridge.

Store estate expansion

Blue Diamond is aiming to double its turnover to £180m by 2022 and plans to drive this growth by expanding its store portfolio, either by converting existing garden centre sites or developing new outlets.

To this end, the garden centre retailer has snapped up its 20th outlet this year and will invest £4.5m to convert the 140,000 sq ft store for opening in March next year.

Blue Diamond is also refurbishing four of its existing garden centre outlets and has three new site builds in development.

‘Consistent growth’

Managing director Alan Roper said: “I believe that Blue Diamond’s consistent growth has come because we are successful in exploiting the opportunities of an increasingly broader non-gardening offer that the modern garden centre now conveys, whilst continuing to remain credible and authoritative in our core gardening offer.

“This is in contrast to the concession-led and relatively undifferentiated offer that is prevalent in most of the sector. Recent upheavals elsewhere in the industry are testament to the challenges of keeping pace with a changing market.”