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Flying Brands sells off final ecommerce holding

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Flying Brands, the company best-known for its erstwhile Flying Flowers business, has sold its final ecommerce holding, it announced today.

The company said it had sold loss-making Gardening Direct to Jersey Choice Marketing for £2.875m. Gardening Direct had an operating loss of £0.4m in the year to December 30, when its assets were valued at £0.2m. The proceeds, of which £2.25m will be paid in cash on completion, will be used to repay £1m still owed on the acquisition of Flowers Direct, and for working capital.

Flying Brands also said that while it had planned to continue running its growing and live dispatch business it was now in advanced discussions to lease its greenhouses and dispatch centre to Jersey Choice until June 2014. Its strategy would then focus on the use of Retreat Farm, valued this year at £3.3m.

In its results for the year to the end of December, Flying Brands chairman Tim Trotter said it had sold its retail brands following downturns in trading that initially meant it could no longer service its then-debts.

It first sold its gifts business, which included flagship brand Flying Flowers, to Interflora for £2.4m, this April. But the remaining business, it said, was not then viable. Since then it has also sold its Garden Bird Supplies, Garden Centre Online and Listen2 businesses for £0.8m.

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