New World Trading Company (NWTC) has lined up six openings for 2020, including its largest ever Botanist site in Cardiff.

At c.16,000 sq. ft the Cardiff site, located on Church Street and due to open in February, will be a third larger than its site in Newcastle, Chris Hill, chief executive of the Graphite-backed group, told MCA.

Spread across two floors, it will feature a central Victorian bandstand, open plan bar and restaurant area with a stream on the lower floor, with a roof garden and restaurant framing two sides of the upper floor, capable of seating several hundred people. “It’s going to be very special,” he said.

The Cardiff opening will be followed by Botanists in Lincoln and Preston, with several other sites in the pipeline for the second half of 2020. “Once we have got those open we will be at 30 sites, which is quite a landmark for us,” he said.

All the sites currently in the pipeline are for Botanist venues, but Hill said it was “searching hard for more Florist sites”. ”The Florist brand is absolutely flying, the one in Watford is a roaring success so I’m desperately trying to find more of those,” he said.

The business has so far opened two sites this year – The Florist in Watford and The Botanist in Bath, complete with a new concept bar called Beneath, in the basement. Its next opening will be a Botanist in the new Time Square Development in Warrington, in November.

Hill said the Beneath bar concept had been really popular, and that while it was early days he would consider introducing it to other sites where they have suitable space to do so.

“We’ve had a bit of an unintended gap (in openings) this summer,” said Hill. “We are only going to open three this year, but we are lined up to do six next year – six is the aspiration but if we can’t find good sites we are not under any pressure to just open sites for the sake of it,” he added.

Hill said trading for the year to date had been strong and that the business was having a “fabulous” July. “I’m really pleased, and we are seeing growth in lots of different areas,” he said

Hill added the business had rolled out its work with Supported Employment programmes to the entire estate – it was previously only working with partner agencies in the North West.

The programmes support young people who have an affliction, such as Down Syndrome, autism or cerebral palsy, for example, which would typically prevent them from entering the world of private sector employment. “We now have around 25 employees in the business in fully paid roles that otherwise would not typically have found work,” he said.