FIVE garden centres in Sussex have been put on the market.

Wyevale Garden Centre is looking to sell its 145 sites, ranging from horticultural centres to leisure destination venues.

The ones in Sussex affected are in Brighton, Hastings, Lewes, Lower Dicker and Wych Cross Garden Centre.

CEO Roger Mclaughlan said: “This investment provides a fantastic opportunity for new long-term owners looking to enter the market and existing operators seeking to expand their current operations.

“Wyevale Garden Centres has been transformed beyond recognition over the last few years, and our customers are responding really positively to all the improvements we’ve been making.

“Our improved business has engaged colleagues and put customers at the heart of what we do.

“Thanks to the hard work of all of our colleagues, we remain firmly on track to grow our sales and profits this year.”

Specialist property adviser Christie and Co is advising on the sale.

MD Steve Rodell said: “The garden centre market is vibrant and on an upwards trajectory.

“In recent years garden centres have become much more than places just to buy plants, evolving to become wider leisure and retail destinations with play centres for children, restaurants and other activities designed to improve the shopping experience.

“These attractive consumer fundamentals with multiple income streams mean the market is likely to be resilient to headwinds experienced by the high-street.”

“The sale of Wyevale Garden Centres presents a unique opportunity for a wide range of buyers from financial institutions, existing garden centre operators, independent business people and entrepreneurs to buy well invested local garden centres within the price range of £200k to £35m.

“Financial institutions will be attracted to a strong business that is a platform for consolidation of the sector.

“Entrepreneurs will be particularly attracted into a market with the prospect of enhancing an already resilient income stream by adding their own profitable activities into underutilised ancillary space which has a multitude of potential uses.

“Current garden centre operators seeking to compliment or improve their existing business will also be attracted to the disposal, as opportunities of this quality rarely come to the market.”

Wyevale is the largest operator of garden centres in the UK.