Radical property review also announced
Wyevale, the garden centre group, has unveiled plans to transform its retail performance and property portfolio.

The retailer, reporting like-for-like sales up by just 0.7 per cent in the 26 weeks to July 3, has announced that chief executive Bob Hewitt is to stand down.

Efforts are being made to improve customer service, make stores easier to shop and develop greater range authority. It is hoped that the changes will deliver increased customer traffic, bigger average basket sizes and greater customer loyalty.

Wyevale is to focus entirely on its big stores and will sell 28 small outlets with limited growth potential.

Chairman David Williams said: 'The reviews that we have completed since I became chairman in March have confirmed that we have substantial opportunities to transform Wyevale's retail performance.

'We operate in a growth market and our announcement today outlines a clear new strategy for the business, based largely on improvements in our retail format and customer proposition.'

Numis analyst Iain McDonald said: 'Management considers there to be significant upside in sales and profit densities by applying the recommendations of the retail review, and is targeting double digit earnings growth driven by 6 per cent compound sales growth.'