Sign up for our newsletter:
Next grows out of clothes – and into garden centres5 September 2011
Fashion chain Next has opened its first UK garden centre.
The High Street retailer cut the ribbon at its ‘new concept store’ in Shoreham, West Sussex, last month.
The Next Home and Garden store spans 56,000 square feet and offers garden and DIY products alongside its clothing and home ranges.
Other new garden offerings include houseplants, seeds, bulbs, barbecues, compost, plant pots and garden and lawn power tools. A statement by the company said the store, at the Holmbush Centre, offered the firm’s products “on a never before seen scale”.
A spokeswoman for Next, which operates over 500 stores, declined to say if further garden centres were planned – suggesting the Shoreham store is a pilot project.
Editor of trade magazine Garden Retail, Matthew Appleby, said: “Garden centre owners feel that Next is just another retailer who sees that they have a successful formula and want a bit of it.
“But as Next is opening just one store with a gardening element, it has a long way to go before it starts to take selling garden products seriously.
“Next has played its cards close to its chest throughout the planning of Shoreham and it could have big ambitions to branch out from home retail into gardening next spring and beyond,” Matthew added.
Last year, The Independent newspaper reported that Next was planning to open seven out-of-town garden centres but a Next spokesman said at the time: “This is mad. We have no plans for garden centres” (Amateur Gardening, 18 December 2010).
As well as offering women’s, men’s and children’s clothing, the Shoreham store has moved into the DIY sector with power tools, garden sheds, tiles and carpets.
Next may be looking to fill a void in the DIY sector left by the collapse of the Focus DIY and Gardening chain earlier this year. Focus had over 170 UK stores and employed 3,000 staff.