Focussing 100% on wholesale side of business

Handy Garden Machinery's retail store, which has served Swindon, Wiltshire for 82 years, is to close its doors.

However, the wholesale side of the business continues to expand.

Speaking to Service Dealer on Thursday this week, chairman Simon Belcher said, "In recent years the wholesale side of the company has provided 97% of our business.

"In these strange times we are living through, it is vital that we focus all our efforts on this element of our company. Our brands such as Webb, GreenWorks and Handy have seen tremendous growth and we feel we must not be distracted from ensuring the continuation of that.

"These next few years will prove challenging for our industry and it's important to us that we support our dealers and customers on the trade side just as much as we can."

Simon explained that the retail premises set for closure, is in a separate location to their main distribution site - which due to the growth in their brands is actually undergoing a 15,000 square foot expansion currently.

Simon continued, "With us now concentrating fully on our wholesale brands, the closure of the retail premises in Swindon, which is not a decision we have taken lightly, means we will be directing our customers who used that store to other servicing dealers in the surrounding areas."

Simon also gave an interview to the local paper, the Swindon Advertiser, this week, citing the effects of lockdown as the principal reason for the store closure. "It’s a real shame that after such a long period of being a retailer in Swindon that we feel the need to close the retail shop," he told them.

The issue with the retail business is that it’s very staff-hungry but only makes money three months of the year.”

Lockdown came at what should have been the busiest period of the year for the Handy store. Simon explained to the paper, “If the profit is split over 12 months of the year, it’s more manageable to cope with this situation. But when you only make the money in three months of the year it’s like having lockdown all year."

Simon says he hopes to mitigate as many redundancies as possible by moving some staff to the wholesale side of the business, through offering voluntary redundancy to those that it suits and by offering some other positions. 

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