Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

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Garden Centre Retail ISSUE 48


February/March 2020




plastic waste



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ome & indulge yourself


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Garden Centre Retail W

elcome to the February/March issue of Garden Centre Retail magazine. To anyone outside of the garden retail industry, talking about Christmas 2020 in February seems a little odd. But the festive season now plays such an important role in the garden retailer’s business, it’s vital to get ahead of the inevitable rush. January sees a few Christmas-themed trade shows happen, and we’ve got news from two of them in this issue. Find out what trends were seen at Christmasworld in Frankfurt, and the Harrogate Christmas and Gift Fair in the following pages of this issue. Aside from that, we’ve got an interview with the biggest player currently in the market, the CEO of Dobbies Garden Centres, Graeme Jenkins. Dobbies has undergone a massive expansion in recent times, following the purchases of a number of Wyevale garden centres when they became available. Graeme shares his thoughts on the business, and what the future holds for Dobbies. We’re also covering EPOS, plastic waste, franchising, and what 2020 holds for garden retail, amongst a host of other interesting and informative features. We’ll also be out and about a fair bit in the coming months, we hope to bump into you! Enjoy your read,

Subeditor – Sam Seaton Tel: 01903 777 570 ADVERTISING Head of sales – Jessica McCabe Tel: 01903 777 587

Joe Wilkinson Managing editor, Garden Centre Retail

We’ve got an interview with the biggest player currently in the market

Sales manager – Tina Savelle Tel: 01903 777 584 Horticulture Careers – Ben Cumberland Tel: 01903 777 570 PRODUCTION Design – Kara Thomas, Kirsty Turek Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd MANAGEMENT Managing director – Jim Wilkinson Director – Lisa Wilkinson Business development manager – Jamie Wilkinson MARKETING AND CIRCUL ATION Client relations – Amber Bernabe Tel: 01903 777 581 Subscription enquiries – Jessica McCabe Tel: 01903 777 587 Garden Centre Retail is published bimonthly by Eljays44 Ltd. The 2020 subscription price is £95. Subscription records are maintained at Eljays44 Ltd, 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA. Articles and information contained in this publication are the copyright of Eljays44 Ltd and may not be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publishers. The publishers cannot accept responsibility for loss of, or damage to, non-commissioned photographs or manuscripts.

@GardenRetailUK Garden Centre Retail Garden Centre Retail

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EDITORIAL Managing editor – Joe Wilkinson Tel: 01903 777 577

Subeditor – Katrina Roy Tel: 01903 777 570


Eljays44 Ltd 3 Churchill Court, 112 The Street, Rustington, West Sussex BN16 3DA

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Joe and the GCR team

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Whilst every effort has been made to maintain the integrity of our advertisers, we accept no responsibility for any problem, complaints, or subsequent litigation arising from readers’ responses to advertisements in the magazine. We also wish to emphasise that views expressed by editorial contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly forbidden.

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C ontents

Garden Centre Retail ISSUE 48


February/March 2020




plastic waste










Franchising your brand – tips from d&t


The ways garden centres are transforming through sustainability

22 RETAILING TO SAVVY SHOPPERS The rising alue and benefits of offering alternati e finance


How logistics companies can help you cope with unexpected sales spikes

25 WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? oplars arden entre and ighfield Garden World reveal 2020 predictions


Christopher Corby discusses the benefits for your co pany



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Presenting some of the industry’s specialist EPOS suppliers


Better waste solutions with NRC and Frosts Garden Centres


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Christmasworld offers inspiration and reveals this year’s festive trends





Graeme Jenkins, CEO of Dobbies Garden Centre


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A round-up of the latest news from the sector


Innovation propels sustainability to the forefront of core gardening categories Guidance on how to not lose potential customers to online shopping


Preparing for summer – how to best merchandise your barbecues


How language can impact the growth of garden centres


Six innovative new care items


Top Christmas decorations for 2020 with tips from various suppliers and pictorial inspiration

45 GROW YOUR OWN A selection of new home-grow products


Trending choices for outdoor spaces


New essentials for aspiring gardeners

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


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The Independent

The leading name in toys and children’s gifts Source new products, discover fresh ranges and meet over 80 leading suppliers from the toy and children’s gift trade. This one of a kind buyer-focused show plays host to leading suppliers including Lego, Depesche, Keel, Ravensburger and Gibsons many of whom will be unveiling their new ranges. All exhibitors are carefully selected to meet the diverse requirements of today’s toy and children’s gift retailers. The Independent Toy & Gift Show was created with the independent in mind, with exclusive offers, a relaxed environment with exhibitors ready to assist. With the demise of larger multiples, now is the time for the independent and at this show visitors can have one to one conversations that will have a positive impact on their retail space and product selection. The show is hosted by plaY-room the toy division of AIS Ltd who are the leading independent buying group for Home & Fashion in UK & Ireland. The show is open to all independent buyers and takes place in the buying group’s Exhibition and Conference Centre in Shirley, close to the NEC. If you are interested in finding out more about membership of AIS then please contact: To save time on show days simply register here for your entrance badge Once registered you are entitled to free entrance, free parking, a complimentary lunch and access to the One Hit Wonders booklet featuring offers only available at this show.

Tuesday 21 & Wednesday 22 April 2020 Register: FR EE REF R E S H M E N T S



Cranmore Park, Solihull, West Midlands B90 4LF

19175 & Gift Full page ad GARDEN CENTRE.indd 1 Advert Toy template.indd 3

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N ew s

NEWS CENTRE Mike Burks to take over as GCA Chairman for 2020/21


ike Burks will take over as GCA Chairman for 2020/21 at the start of the organisation’s annual conference. Mike, MD of The Gardens Group, will take the reins from outgoing Chairman, Mike Lind. He says: “I’m looking forward to my chairmanship and am lucky that the GCA has been in excellent hands with Mike Lind. “With the association in such good shape, I can focus much of my time on driving forward with new initiatives. I plan to visit many garden centres, attend meetings and work with the team to develop GROW. I want to make sure our members can get the most out of this valuable system.” The chairman of the GCA works with the GCA executive and full board of elected directors.

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Iain Wylie, chief executive of the GCA, says: “I am thrilled to have Mike as the new chairman. I congratulate him on his election win. “I’m looking forward to working with him when he takes on the role. He has already helped with organising the conference, which will be bigger and better than ever.” Mike has been on the GCA Executive Committee for more than 10 years.

David Domoney announced as Miracle-Gro brand ambassador


vergreen Garden Care has appointed TV broadcaster David Domoney as its brand ambassador. The partnership will see David produce a wide range of content. The content will span insightful blogs, videos and a variety of horticultural activities. It will surround topics such as gardening to support the environment and gardening for better wellbeing. Mark Portman, MD of Evergreen Garden Care says: “Both David Domoney and Evergreen share a common mutual desire. We want to drive participation in gardening through de-mystifying it.

“With David’s wealth of expertise and role as a key influencer, and E ergreen s high-quality garden care products, we know this is a winning partnership.” David says: “I am delighted to be working with Evergreen. Many of their brands I have been using myself in my own garden for years. “Everyone’s garden always benefits fro the use of good garden care products. The Evergreen brands cater for all. “Over the year, I will be motivating the nation to experience the love of the garden and the many positive things it can do to make us happier and healthier.”

Caulders buys Loch Lomond Homes & Gardens Centre


aulders Garden Centres has added Loch Lomond Homes and Garden Centre to the group. The company now has eight centres in Central Scotland. The Shaw family has sold the garden centre to focus on their core business of builder’s merchants.

Colin Barrie, MD of Caulders says: “We’re delighted to have agreed to buy Loch Lomond Homes and Gardens Centre. “It’s a great business and a great location with a fantastic team of people who we are looking forward to welcoming into the Caulders family.”

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Green Light for Major Extension Project at Hillier Garden Centre Newbury


isitors to Hillier Garden Centre Newbury can look forward to a transformed experience following the granting of planning permission for a major extension project. The project will see the garden centre become an attractive and inspiring destination. More than 2,500m2 of extra retail space is planned; almost triple the existing area. This will be housed within a new glass-fronted building with apex roofline This will

create a home for retail partners of Hillier, as well as housing a farm shop and coffee shop. The entrance and car parking area will be reconfigured, creating a better facility and more parking spaces. Landscaping, including feature trees, will also be installed. Work on this exciting new project will begin in Summer 2020. It’ll be completed in time for the peak Spring season in 2021.

New garden centre in Elveden gets green light


new garden centre, farm shop and restaurant/café complex in Elveden has got the green light. Blue Diamond will be the operators. Elveden Farms Limited applied to construct a 3,886m2 building within its walled garden area. Elveden Courtyard’s existing car park is expanding to 400 spaces. The facility could create more than 100 jobs and create a ‘tourist destination’. Thetford Garden Centre told planners it was concerned about the scheme’s impact. It


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says t will ha e a significant impact on our business. “Our £3 million investment may now not be workable. Any jobs they create will cancel out from the ones we would have created.” According to a report from West Suffolk Council: The benefits of the de elop ent significantly outweigh the identified minor harm in respect of the setting of the walled garden area and the impact on the conservation area.”

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

Malcolm Scott Consultants announces enhanced offering


alcolm Scott Consultants has kick-started 2020 by expanding its service offering. It will now include a range of business development and retail services to help clients. The business has built on its experience to evolve with the marketplace. The expansion acts as an extension to the clients it supports. Andrew Burton joined the business in September last year. He said MSC had been working with clients to understand their needs. He also said they want to add value and expertise to their projects. “Malcolm Scott

Consultants has cemented itself over the past three decades. It’s a trusted provider of planning and design advice in the garden centre sector. It has worked alongside operators to devise business plans to develop centres. “We began to develop our offering to work alongside our clients and act as an extension to their business. The past few months have seen us become more involved in key processes. This includes introducing new ranges, margin reviews and product sourcing.”

Opperman Plants secures £250,000 loan from MEIF Maven Debt Finance


pperman Plants has secured funding of £250,000 from MEIF Maven Debt Finance. The company will speed up growth and take advantage of opportunities. Founded in 1990, the company is a family-run nursery supplying wholesale plants to retailers across the UK. The loan is set to support the fir s expansion plans It’ll enable it to diversify its custo er base and finance new market opportunities. The 13.5 acre Lincolnshire site comprises glasshouses with ancillary buildings. It also has a biomass boiler and kiln, as well as horticultural crops.The business supplies grown to order high quality pot-plants in large numbers. Michael Opperman said: “We’re delighted to have the backing of MEIF and Maven. The funding will enable us

to take advantage of new opportunities to grow our business. With Maven’s support, we are confident we can pursue our ambitious growth plans faster.” Richard Altoft at Maven Capital Partners, said: “Opperman Plants is a supplier serving a range of wholesale customers. “We’re delighted to support the business as it embarks on a programme of growth. We look forward to working with them to help the business execute its development plans.”

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Notcutts in Ditchling opens 300-seater restaurant

HTA pushes local authorities to pick up plant pots at kerbside



otcutts Garden Pride Garden Centre has opened a new restaurant for up to 300 people. The restaurant project in East Sussex has been part of a refurbishment which began last year. It includes upgrades to the layout and a new state-ofthe-art outdoor plant canopy. The new restaurant is the largest across Notcutts’ 18 garden centres. The restaurant also has a new cake counter with a selection of Notcutts’ popular treats. It also features a south-facing alfresco terrace

which seats a further 80 people. An outdoor play area has been included for children to enjoy. Gary West, general manager at Notcutts Garden Pride, says: “We’re thrilled that our new restaurant is now open. “Our restaurant offers a fantastic dining space with rural views across the South Downs. The new alfresco terrace and children’s play area will be popular. “We hope local people will pop in and explore everything we have to offer.”

he HTA has called on local authorities to collect plant pots in kerbside collections. It’s urging members to contact their local council. It wants to encourage them to commit to collecting and recycling non-black plant pots. As well as providing a template letter, the HTA will write to the Local Government Association. It will highlight the issue and stress the need for consistency on collection. This follows a publication released by RECOUP – the 2019 ‘Household Plastics Collections Survey’. It shows that 10% of councils collect plant pots as part of their kerbside collections. This amounts to 40 councils; demonstrating an increase on previous estimates. RECOUP’s report provides the technical assurance that recyclable pots are recyclable. HTA director of policy and communications

James Clark comments: “While it is encouraging to see the number of local authorities collecting recyclable plant pots from the kerbside has increased, there is more work to do.” “There is no reason why all local councils could not collect recyclable pots. “We’re calling on HTA member businesses to contact their local councillors to highlight the issue.” “This is part of our wider strategy to engage with local authorities and waste management companies. We want them to close the loop ensuring that an estimated 8,000 tonnes of pots are recycled from the kerbside.”

Remembering Elizabeth Hayes


he family, directors and staff at Hayes Garden World has announced the passing of Mrs Elizabeth Hayes. Elizabeth passed away aged 84 on Sunday 5 January 2020. In recent years, Elizabeth had stepped back from the day-to-day running of the business, but remained a passionate champion of maintaining standards at the highest level and paying attention to detail. She knew the staff members at Hayes well and enjoyed seeing many

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of the flourish o er the years as they gravitated from young junior assistants to senior managers, team leaders and buyers. Some long-standing staff members became good friends, with whom Elizabeth enjoyed some wonderful holidays, revelling in the sights and always having plenty of fun. Elizabeth ayes personified everything that has made the Hayes Garden World business such a success: she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


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N ew s C h ristm asw orl d

CHRISTMASWORLD Garden Centre Retail visits this year’s Christmasworld to find out and share the u com n trends for the fest e season


s soon as one Christmas is out of the way, it’s time for retailers to think about the next one – and there’s no better opportunity to scope out the suppliers’ upcoming lines than Christmasworld. The show, held this year from 24 to 28 January at Messe Frankfurt, boasted more than 3,000 exhibitors across the vast halls, with everything from ceiling-high Santas to hand-painted baubles all the way over to thousands of glistening string lights. Predicting the trends that’ll make next Christmas sparkle were experts from design studio Stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano. Its top picks, based on the theme of ‘family matters’, are displayed to the right.

Stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano’s top picks: “Family matters” Green Ritual With light shades of green creating a calm, timeless look, and darker hues providing a more modern aesthetic, the products falling under this trend bring natural vegetation into the home. Think baubles with pressed flowers wrapped around them or wrapping paper adorned with watercolour ferns.

Silken Party A pastel, feminine colour palette forms this theme – a startling contrast to the traditional deep reds and greens usually dominating Christmas displays. Delicate, bubble-like baubles and rose pink ribbons are likely to be popular, alongside gold and yellow decorative elements. Happy Get-together Sustainability is – perhaps unsurprisingly – a key part of the dining table for next Christmas. Gone are single-use elements, in favour of innovative designs from recycled or reused materials. Its focus is unabashedly urban, bringing people together in more liveable places.


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C h ristm asw orl d N ew s Garden Centre Retail’s top trends

Traditional Pink is on the up, but the traditional reds, greens and golds were still powerfully present. If anything, they were even more elaborate, with nutcracker soldiers in abundance and the largest Christmas light displays this writer will ever see. There may be new trends, but the stalwart trends of Christmas past remain strong.

Winter Woodland Admittedly, the rustic look usually comes into full force at Christmas, but this year features the addition of toadstools, woodland creatures and – as any woodland should feature – fairies, ensuring it blends perfectly with the dusty pink adornments should you wish to blend the two themes.

Foliage With houseplants growing ever popular, adding foliage to one of the most commercialised events of the year seems like a s art o e erns, flowers and even large topiary baubles were proudly displayed on stands as key embellishments for any plant lover’s home at Christmas.

Dusty Pink All other colours were overshadowed by the overwhelming amount of pink splayed across the halls. Instagram may well be the culprit of bringing this colour into the forefront of the festive season, with dusty pink covering trees, wrapping and decorations – and even pumpkins! Who said Halloween had to be scary?

Visual Merchandising The take-away from Christmasworld this year? Pick a theme. The dazzling Dark Ocean display by 2Dezign showed how a seawater theme with numerous shades of blue can transform a space – and has the potential to increase sales, too. With a wealth of inspiration, there’s little doubt the majority of visitors wanted to pick up the display and drop it into their own stores next Christmas.

THREE REASONS TO GO TO CHRISTMASWORLD NEXT YEAR 1. Insight into the trends Not only what the trends will be, but who is stocking them and how you could display them. 2. New contacts and products With more than 3,000 exhibitors, chances are you’ll speak to a company you’ve never even heard of before. 3. Insurmountable inspiration Not just for Christmas, but for all seasons throughout the year – from displaying products to using social media.

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Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


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A dv ertorial

Pruned to perfection with GARDENA As we prepare to say hello to Spring, we’re preparing for the big Spring prune. Late Winter / Early Spring pruning presents the perfect opportunity to remove dead, diseased branches and shoots to make way for new, healthy shoots. From hedge clippers to secateurs GARDENA has an extensive range of cutting tools to make pruning easier than ever. With a 25 year warranty on all cutting equipment, you can rest assured GARDENA won’t let you down. The GARDENA secateurs B/M are perfect for pruning stronger branches and twigs with a larger diameter. The upper blade is made of stainless steel, with a fibreglass-reinforced handle, and this odel features a spring integrated in the handle. New for 2020, the GARDENA 2in1 Energy Hedge Clippers allow you to make quick, accurate cuts and also tackle tough, thick branches with just the switch of a gear, giving up to 2,5 times more cutting power. But as always, be on the lookout for nesting birds. The new and improved GARDENA NatureCut Hedge Clippers have been designed for maximum comfort and convenience without compromising cutting power. The wa ed, non-stic steel blades guarantee a perfect

cut and the ergonomically designed European beech wood FSC® handles, complete with soft buffers ensure comfortable handling at the perfect working angle. Early Spring is the ideal time to start pruning fruit trees and the GARDENA EasyCut 500B bypass pruning loppers are the perfect tool for the job. Manufactured in Germany and put through rigorous quality testing, the EasyCut 500B is lightweight, at only 895g, yet powerful due to the precision-ground blades For lawn tasks GARDENA’s Comfort long handled grass shears make tidying lawn edges easier than ever. The long, lightweight aluminium handles allow you to cut your lawn edges without bending close to the ground. For raised lawns and beds, simply turn the cutting blades 90° to trim along the edges. The GARDENA Battery Grass shears AccuCut Li powered by an inno ati e, high-perfor ance i-ion battery technology can help you achieve precise, neat lawn edges. Also available in a set with boxwood shrub shears, it has a battery run time of 40m and can trim up to 700m of lawn edge per run time. The ClassicCut Li model has a tiltable handle for ergonomic trimming and can be combined with a telescopic handle and wheels for trimming in an upright position.

About GARDENA For over 50 years GARDENA has provided everything passionate gardeners need. The broad assortment of products offer innovative solutions and systems for watering, lawn care, tree and shrub care and soil cultivation. Today, GARDENA is a leading European supplier of high-quality gardening tools and distributed in more than 80 countries worldwide. GARDENA is a brand of Husqvarna Group. For more information, see

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12/02/2020 09:15 09:13



THE INTERVIEW Graeme Jenkins, Dobbies Garden Centre


FRANCHISING Franchising your brand – tips from d&t


REDUCING PLASTIC How garden centres are changing their offerings


RETAILING TO SAVVY SHOPPERS The value of alternative finance


DEALING WITH SALES SPIKES Advice from Tom Martin, Tuffnells


WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? Industry predictions for 2020


EPOS: IS IT WORTH IT? Christopher Corby discusses the benefits


EPOS: SUPPLIER OPTIONS Presenting five industry specialists


WASTE MANAGEMENT Solutions from NRC and Frosts Garden Centres

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B usiness I nterv iew


GRAEME JENKINS DOBBIES GARDEN CENTRES Garden Centre Retail catches up with Graeme Jenkins, the CEO of the leading garden centre retail business in the UK. We talk about expansion, pressures and the future of the business


ince buying a total of 37 Wyevale garden centres, Dobbies has become the leading garden centre retail business in the UK, with 68 centres in total, narrowly ahead of British Garden Centres and Blue Diamond Garden Centres. The business was founded in 1865 by James Dobbie as a seed-selling company. Over the next 150 years, the company built up a customer base and started opening garden centres that soon became a go-to destination. Bringing it up to date, the current business was bought from Tesco in 2016, and has expanded rapidly since.

Dobbies has become the biggest chain in the market, with 68 centres in total “If you go back to when we bought the business from Tesco, we fundamentally thought, at the time, that Dobbies could be a platform for growth,” says Graeme. “There are lots of garden centre operators


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

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in the UK, and consolidation is a natural evolution of where the sector could go. When the Wyevale opportunity came along, it was good timing, and we were able to clearly identify the garden centres we wanted to buy. The garden centres we bought are performing very strongly.” Growth The Wyevale acquisitions were completed in two stages The first stage saw obbies take six centres in 2018, before committing to 31 more in 2019. “The team and I had been around all the centres at least three times, so we had a good idea about what we wanted to do in each one. “From the start of 2019, we had trialled several pilots in our existing centres, including changes to merchandising and ranging. With lots of good learnings from those trials, we were able to pull together a clear plan of work for the new centres.” But, with the expansion also came the disposal of three smaller centres. “You’d have seen we announced the sale of the Dalgety Bay centre, so that takes us to 68 centres. Of our 68 centres, 42 are what we class as large centres, 21 as standard and then the balance are specialist centres. The two small centres we sold a year ago, and

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I nterv iew B usiness

Cakes on display at Dobbies, Edinburgh

now Dalgety Bay, were our smallest centres. The small centres weren’t big enough and didn’t offer the opportunity to give the full Dobbies experience,” Graeme explains. Now, Dobbies is a £300m business, having added £140m to the turnover from the 37 new centres. It doesn’t look like the expansion is stopping there, though. “Our Christmas trading update showed that we had strong like-for-like growth, and when you get into specific depart ent perfor ances, there were some really strong in comparison to the sector as well as to broader retail,” says Graeme. “Ultimately, we will look at buying more centres at the right time, assuming they’re at the right price. It all goes back to those fundamentals of why we thought the business was attractive when Tesco was selling it. It is a platform for growth. We’ve strengthened the fundamentals of the

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Dobbies Garden Centre, Liverpool

business to support future growth, but inevitably, it comes down to the team. Another pillar of growth for the company will be new sites. “We have got six in the pipeline,” explains Graeme. “They will start to land from 2022 onwards, and as always, will be subject to planning.” However, is international expansion on the horizon? Never say never. “It is not something we have in the pipeline. We have visited Germany and the Netherlands a few times, though, because some of the ideas within those garden centres are phenomenal. Although there’s a different philosophy to gardening from a customer’s perspective, some of the products and merchandising mechanics are exciting. Retailing As garden centres continue to buck the trend, Graeme believes this is down to the

If you go back to when we bought the business, we fundamentally thought Dobbies could be a platform for growth experience they can offer. He says the fact that garden centres are different is a big strength of the sector. “Lots of retailers talk about experiential retailing, like department stores for example, but garden centres have had this from day one, and it is a really nice experience. “Plants and gardens will always be the absolute core of our business because that is the bit that differentiates us from other retailers. Then, we have the 

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


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B usiness I nterv iew restaurants that have been a core part of our business.” The Edinburgh centre’s restaurant is the biggest in Scotland, with 600 covers. Garden centres offer this experiential retailing by default, and whatever happens with retail, be it on the high street, in shopping centres, or online, people still enjoy socialising, and garden centres provide a nice environment and opportunity to do just that.” Graeme only sees the market getting stronger. “It’s always been a resilient sector and as retail becomes more and more about experience, we are ideally placed to capitalise on that. “The new ranges and formats piloted last year are performing well, with those centres first recei ing the upgrade being our top perfor ers ot only did profit go up, which is obviously helpful, but the centres’ net promoter score (NPS) went up, with customers responding well to what we were doing – be that in retail or in the restaurant. “Plants and gardening are the main reasons to come to a garden centre, and the restaurant is another, but what we’re seeing is that the convenience of shopping for other things has grown in importance. “Instead of having more and more space dedicated to gifting-type products, such as candles and bath bombs, we have dedicated more of our internal retail space to our food halls, our cookshop offer and our pet offer. We have seen strong growth across all these categories. It isn’t just our gut instinct that is driving this, it is based on our customer feedback.” Business pressures It has been a big year for Dobbies, and Graeme is proud of what the business has achieved. “The team that is leading

Dobbies – and I stress the team – has pulled together in what has been quite a transformational year. The business has doubled in size. We are sensibly funded, we have a very good team, we are clear about our strategy and where we want to take the business, and our trade is good. “The next year is important, as we come up to our first spring with the new centres onboard. We need to deliver on customer expectations on what the centres can offer.”

Lots of retailers talk about experiential retailing, department stores for example, but garden centres have had this from day one

Dobbies Garden Centre, Liverpool

The future of Dobbies What does the future hold for Britain’s largest garden centre retailer? Success, predicts Graeme, if the business continues to deliver on its three key performance metrics. “Internally, we work towards team member engagement, net promoter score, and profit “A happy team can give great service to make our customers happy that ultimately should lead to growth. The simplicity of this message is strong. Whatever size we end up being, if we keep delivering on those three key metrics, then everyone will hopefully be happy.” s recent intel figures suggest, the garden retail industry is worth £6bn, and, with 5% of this belonging to Dobbies, there is still plenty of room for growth yet. ◗

Dobbies Garden Centre, Edinburgh


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magrini high chairs The Magrini Breeze commercial high chair stacks up to 8 high for easy storage and comes in a choice of colours that will not fade or peel. The strong, sturdy design allows your smallest customers to feel safe and the chair pushes up to the table to create a relaxed family mealtime. The Breeze high chair is manufactured in the U.K. by Magrini.

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07/02/2020 11:22

B usiness F ranch ising


ranchising is an agreement where a business owner grants another individual permission to replicate its branding, systems and processes to create their own successful operation. The franchisee (the new adopter) usually pays a one-off franchise purchase fee, in addition to a percentage of sales on an ongoing basis. In this way, franchising offers the franchisor (original proprietor) a stable route to growth, avoiding taking on further risk to the business owner. This is due to the new individual (franchisee) coming in and creating their own independent business, a separate business entity to the original. They will be creating their own limited company and taking on their own business loans and debtors. Should there be any unforeseen circumstances, the original proprietor isn’t affected, other than a potential loss of brand reputation. There are around 1,000 franchise systems in the UK in a myriad of sectors, currently contributing to £15 billion of the UK’s turnover. It is surprising how many premises-based franchises there are, including many household names, such as: McDonalds, Specsavers, O2, Boots, Levi’s Stores and Anytime Fitness. However, it is also surprising how few franchised garden centres there are. Like any easily replicable business model, garden centres can be franchised and the opportunity for owners of expanding businesses is undeniable. To grow a successful franchised operation, there are three main pillars which need to be nurtured: the franchise agreement drawn up between franchisee and business owner, the operations manual which details all procedures and processes and efficient ways of wor ing, and finally the S and brand strength of the business – what makes it different.


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FRANCHISING YOUR GARDEN CENTRE James Thomas, QFP, commercial manager at d&t discusses how garden centres could franchise their brand Franchising your garden centre will require financial in est ent and ti e to ensure it is ready for someone else to grow. It is worth researching other competitors or similarly sized premises-based units early on to see how they proposition their model.

Like any easily replicable business model, garden centres can be franchised and the opportunity for owners of expanding businesses is undeniable Usually, £100K is the minimum required to set up a basic franchise model. This includes drawing up a legally binding franchise agreement, creating the operations manual, developing a suitable website to attract potential franchisees and marketing on franchise directories to name but a few. Such investment is likely to require funding. To approach financial institutions and attract the best deal on funding, a solid and detailed business plan and forecast outlining franchise growth and franchisee start-up costs is required. Attracting the right franchisees is also a key success factor. You will need to be

clear as to why a franchisee should choose to invest in your business rather than open up independently. As a business owner, you will have three ey s ill sets financial, operational and marketing management. These are all underpinned by good leadership skills. A new franchisee is likely only to have only one or two of these elements and the job of the franchisor is to support and help them develop their abilities in each area to succeed. Time spent training franchisees should be offset and factored into your franchise’s initial investment fee. Expanding your garden centre operation through franchising could offer a fertile landscape for growth without the risks associated with opening additional owner-managed outlets. However, potential franchisors need to consider the opportunity ery carefully reparation and talking with experts early on is essential for success. At d&t, we can offer initial business advisory meetings to talk about the financials, business structure, business planning as well as independent funding sourcing options. The British Franchise Association (bfa) website is also a good place to investigate ( The bfa lists affiliates who are professional franchise advisors, who are all required to abide by a code of ethics and so can provide you with all the advice you need to franchise your business successfully. ◗ ABOUT d&t is a multi-award-winning team of chartered accountants and business advisors, working with over 100 different franchise networks in the UK. For more information, please see:

11/02/2020 09:13

Helping businesses grow for over 50 years Fordingbridge are incredibly proud of our work within the Garden Centre industry. Whether you are looking to refurbish your existing site, expand your customer offering or need an innovative solution for your outside space, our dedicated team of industry specialists are here to help. If you have a project to discuss, we would love to work with you. 01243 55 44 55

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07/02/2020 11:22

B usiness R educing Pl astic


PLASTIC With plastic having been a huge part of the garden centre industry, we discuss the ways in which products are becoming more sustainable


n 2015, 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste was generated – only 9% of that was recycled, with the rest being sent to landfill or being left to deco pose in the en iron ent ith these figures set to rise and the trend continue, al ost doubling by , we are all beco ing uch ore aware of the negati e effect s plastic has on our en iron ent owe er, as ore e idence is published about the concerns regarding single-use plastics, garden centres, nurseries and anufactures are stepping up, a ing it easier to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic, and doing their bit to help stop ore da age being done to the en iron ent

What are garden centres doing? t is clear to see the horticultural industry has ta en the ti e to address their use of plastic and the effect it has had on the en iron ent The in ention of a light, yet durable plastic pot, released in the 60s, re olutionised the growing industry and played a big part in the rise of nurseries

In 2015, 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste were generated; only 9% of that was recycled, with the rest ein sent to and or being left to decompose in the environment and garden centres p until recent years, all these nurseries sold their plants in these blac plastic plant pots and seed trays, which often cannot be recycled in our nor al bins any of which ha ing only been used ust once or twice then discarded by gardeners. Though, in uly , the T too it upon the sel es to co e up with


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

Reducing plastic use.indd 20

a solution, generating a plant pot which garden centres can stoc and can be discarded of within our erbside recycling newly de ised, taupe coloured polypropylene container was designed and decided upon for as a sustainable replace ent to the ubiquitous blac plastic pot growing nu ber of nurseries, despite not ha ing organic certification, are also opting to align their businesses with ore sustainable principles, re ecting the choice to stoc en iron entally da aging peat-based co posts and shifting their focus on raising their own plants on site, as opposed to i porting the It is vital that garden centres open the discussion concerning plastic waste, encouraging people to opt for ore sustainable alternati es and educating the on the benefits as a result ore garden centres are starting their own free collection and drop off points for plastic plots and planters, enabling gardeners who ha e a assed large quantities of pots, to pass the onto other gardeners who can a e good use of the ust one way garden centres can encourage their custo ers to cut down on single-use plastic

11/02/2020 10:59

R educing Pl astic B usiness What do the centres have to say? Garden Centre Retail caught up with a selection of garden centres to see the policies they were implementing to reduce plastic within the industry.

Acopia “Acopia has been providing specialist retail support for garden centres for over 40 years, and 2020 sees sustainability at the top of its agenda. “It’s hard to imagine, but 79% of all plastic produced is still in the environment. Many garden centres are actually feeling customer pressure to be more sustainable. “One product we are proud to supply is our 100% home compostable bags that customers can dispose of harmlessly. Our bags are made from potato starch and will breakdown entirely; complying with the European Standard EN 13432, consumers can put them in garden or food waste bins. We’ve found this to be popular with the garden centres who are looking for a game changing product in the fight against plastic “We feel it is important to choose packaging that is right for the individual garden centre;

One product we are really proud to supply is our 100% home compostable bags

working creatively and collaboratively with customers to ensure they have the right solutions. “Consumer awareness is key to encourage customers to shop and do gardening more sustainably. We encourage the garden centres we work with to mention on any printed items its environmental credentials. In addition, small signage around the store encouraging people to reuse carrier bags and recycle, makes the customer realise the work the retailers are putting into becoming eco-friendly and break the cycle of single-use plastics.”

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edibleculture “The awareness of our customers is already there; they’ve read the scientific e idence and they can feel the change within the climate. Our role, now, should be to accommodate growers to make choices, to choose to reject plastics in any form – be it pots, trays or bags.

It is hugely important we have a thriving, kinder horticulture sector in the UK It is important that we have a thriving and considerate horticulture sector, as it has an important role to play with addressing climate change and the nature collapse. The biggest thing we have changed is internally recycling all plastics – nothing leaves our site, except for specialist recycling. We have also drastically reduced our energy use – now only growing plants useful to UK nature. We have designed and created POSIpot, which is a ‘point of sale’ swap pot. We decant from plastic to POSIpot, made from waste cardboard which can be planted in the ground with the plant. We are also pushing bareroot plant sale – the selling of all feeds, seeds and liquids by volume (as opposed to packaged up), and plating plants plastic-free, with plastic-free ties and guards. We work with community groups and actively donate plants we wont sell, which has shown isible benefits We offer something different and interesting, and we aren’t concerned about disagreeing with established thinking. Small businesses need this trait; they should celebrate having some character. Our customers are our biggest asset, they are our advocates, and an important part of the change!”

Garden Centre Overstrand “With a disciplined change in working practices, staff training and re-educating, we are very pleased with our results. Over the past few months, we have witnessed a huge reduction in the level of general wastes. A few of the major changes we made, include making sure all generated plastic waste is uplifted by Copdock Mills where it is then sent for recycling. In conjunction with this, we no longer use any bin liners, instead, opting for plastic bags derived from decanting bird food. Used plastic plant pots and trays are donated to the local community, ready to be reused. Any compost that we sell within the centre is from a company in which we are happy to endorse, and all their plastic waste can go into the customers’ domestic recycling bins. In addition, all pallet wrap is clouted rather than the standard black plastic.

We are planning to have a complete section within the centre, promoting a plasticfree garden and home sundries, all natural and locally sourced We are now proud to stock the full range, including completely organic compost, peat-free and derived from mushroom waste. Moving forward as a business, we hope to develop and expand on our range of organic and natural plant feeds and pest treatment lines. Moreover, we are also planning on having a complete section within the centre, promoting a plastic-free garden and home sundries, all natural and locally sourced.”

Garden centres are accountable for fostering a shift in the way customers think and shop, promoting sustainable gardening and encouraging people to gradually switch to plastic-free alternatives, eventually leading them go plastic-free entirely with their garden projects. After all, it’s the small steps, which ultimately lead to the biggest changes. ◗

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


11/02/2020 10:59

B usiness PO S F inance




at consumer finance s ec al st

ritain is famed for temperamental weather, but that doesn’t stop people enjoying the outdoors. In 2017, the Horticultural Trades Association found that the UK garden market was worth around £5.7 billion, with some households happy to spend up to £20,000 on their outdoor space. Getting gardens into good shape and ensuring they stay that way is an ongoing process for many homeowners, presenting a huge sales opportunity for retailers. However, substantial garden renovations can be an expensi e outlay and so e customers may not be able to afford everything they want in one lump sum. To attract sales when customers can’t afford the total cost upfront, garden centres can introduce alternative payment ethods, li e point of sale S finance Our research into consumer spending found that 83% of shoppers would consider purchasing a product or service using S finance So, how can garden centre retailers use alternative payment methods to keep increasing their sales in 2020?


Visibility of payment options Garden centres need to ensure that information about alternative payment options, li e S finance, is presented clearly throughout the buying journey, in store and online. This could potentially reduce abandoned purchases and even increase the average price of purchase orders as customers will be able to afford a higher priced item if the cost is split over time. In physical stores, retailers can display the cost of monthly instalments alongside the total cost – this will clearly illustrate the various payment options on offer and make it easier for customers to factor in if finance is the right option for the Online, garden centres can advertising S finance on the ho epage, next to each product listing and at the checkout. Simple application process The application process needs to be simple and straightforward. For customers who’ve spent a long time considering their purchases, a long-winded process of filling out extensi e finance for s could put the off completing their purchase. Thought needs to be given to ensuring the systems online and instore are quick and easy to complete, so a decision can be made in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. Personalised nance ad ice E ery consu er is different finance option which works for one might not work for another, so personalisation is key. Fortunately, there are a number of different payment options available which retailers can offer, however navigating through these can be difficult y using


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

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an expert S pro ider, garden centres can confidently gi e custo ers bespo e and personalised advice on which payment option is best suited to them based on their personal financial position, as well as help to speed up the process. S finance options are continuing to grow in popularity. In fact, our research found that of consu ers expect the from retailers. Garden centres that take advantage of this could broaden their client base and make the move towards higher sales. ◗ ABOUT Duologi provides bespoke finance solutions for retailers across a wide range of sectors. It uses a point of sale technology-based platform that integrates with retailer’s existing systems. Duologi is supported by Oaktree Capital, a leader among global investment managers specialising in alternative investments. For additional information, visit:

11/02/2020 09:20

S al es B usiness




t’s not always easy for garden centres in the UK to predict and prepare for a spike in sales. This is mainly due to our erratic weather, but significant social events and trends also play their part on when the British public invests in the garden. Of course, Spring, Summer and the Christmas period will always see an increase in sales, but it’s important to be as prepared as you can for those unexpected upward trends. Looking back to last year, a mild winter led to a surge in sales at garden centres in February, with a 13.71% increase when compared with the same month in 2018.

It’s important to be as prepared as you can for those unexpected upward trends Specifically, garden furniture and barbecue sales were up some 33.61%, showing that the British public will prepare their gardens for spring early if the weather encourages them to. In 2018, the hot Summer paired with England’s success at the FIFA World Cup in ussia saw people go for quic -fix plants and accessories designed to spruce up their gardens, ideal choices for last minute plans to host friends and family. Events like the World Cup that grip the nation are the ones garden centres should be earmarking as key dates during the year. To help prepare for potential sales spikes, you will need to work with partners to ensure you can handle any possible surge in sales. At Tuffnells, we work closely with garden centres throughout the UK to support with peaks in demand for garden

Dealing with sales spikes.indd 23

goods, providing advice on how best to deliver at those peak times. 2020 – what to look out for Looking to the year ahead, there are important dates for garden centres to consider as moments where those unexpected trends might rear their head. This winter has been a bit of a mixed bag, with some very cold days but equally mild ones too. The forecast expects the remainder of winter to be relatively mild once again, so don’t be surprised to see another February spike. There are also some major sporting events to put on the calendar. From 12 June to 12 July, UEFA’s Euro 2020 event will take place – if England do well again, the trends of 2018 may repeat themselves, not to mention that Wales (and, at the time of writing, possibly Scotland too) could be participating in this summer’s tournament. The Olympics and Wimbledon closely follow this, so it could be a busy summer at the tills for garden centres. How your logistics partner can help With bulky goods often needing to be carefully handled by people rather than machines, transporting irregular freight like benches, barbecues or Christmas trees can be more expensive than standard packages.

Tom Martin, sales director at Tuffnells, explains how logistics companies can help you cope with a welcome, yet unexpected, spike in sales While the initial outlay can be higher, a specialist carrier can help avoid the cost of returns and damaged goods – something especially important during condensed and exceptionally busy periods like the beginning of Spring and the festive season. It’s a good idea to ask your transport provider a few questions when planning for seasonal or unexpected peaks. arger fleets can deli er to a wider geographic area and potentially more quickly, while features such as curtainsided trailers allow the larger items, like giant trees, to be unloaded quickly. It’s important to understand the capabilities of your transport operator. Many of the consignments we’ve delivered have included packages which are 10 foot or longer, so we’ve been working closely with our customers to make sure all our consignments are packed carefully to make sure each item arrives in perfect condition at its destination.

By using bags and shrink wrap to save space and help with stacking, we’ve also been able to support customers in delivering as many items as possible in a single delivery to help meet demand at the busiest times. So, if you’re planning for the year ahead, make sure you speak with your logistics partner and be certain that you’re prepared. ◗

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


11/02/2020 08:59

Notcutts realises benefits of working with external procurement specialist

A dv ertorial

As a successful garden centre business with 18 outlets, Notcutts has a close eye on new and changing consumer tastes. And with a garden centre visit becoming more of a leisure experience than simply a shopping trip, great restaurant food and beverage has become an increasingly important part of the customer offering. The family-owned business knew it needed to continue to shape its restaurant business, so in 2017 asked Kevin Boyle to join them. Kevin’s experience included spells at pub group Mitchells & Butlers, and at Rank Group and he arrived with a brief to look at the food and beverage proposition from top to bottom, ensuring it met customer expectations, delivered consistently, and could be run efficiently across the various garden centres around the country. “The restaurant food and beverage experience is becoming a big part of the garden centre proposition,” says Kevin. “The crux is to have both retail and restaurant food and beverage working in tandem. At Notcutts, we open at 9am with a popular breakfast menu and offer main meals catering for a variety of tastes and dietary preferences with our vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options growing in popularity. Throughout the day our artisan coffee, delicious cake range, home baked scones, savoury pastries and traybakes are firm customer favourites that drive footfall into our garden centres. Like many catering businesses operating today, one of our big challenges is staff recruitment and retention. This has led us to reconsider how we do things on site, reducing complexity in the kitchen and improving efficiency at the counter and in our service. One of the big drivers of the business is our Privilege Club loyalty scheme which gives special offers and discounts to members on retail products as well as free hot drinks and 2-for-1 meals at specified times. The food and beverage offering is a fundamental part of our loyalty programme and drives an increase in the number of visits from our customers. I wasn’t a great fan of agencies as I prefer dealing with suppliers direct. So when we started working with Pelican, initially I admit that I did give them a bit of a hard time. But we’ve got a very good account contact, Stuart Chapman (Pelican Procurement Manager) who feels like an extension to our team. His expertise and support is a great bolt-on to help us with decision making.

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I still deal direct with all of our suppliers, with Pelican supporting the negotiation process. Stuart’s main role is to monitor product quality and supplier service levels, help to secure the best price for all products we buy, manage any price increases and gather market information so we can make better-informed decisions. Menu development is another area where Pelican has been able to support us. Stuart has been arranging tastings and samples from suppliers and tracking their logistics operations to ensure the products are stocked in the right depots. Recently, we have worked together on sourcing, trialing and producing a roll-out platform for a new fruit and vegetable supplier who are able to offer a fantastic service. I was also keen to look at other non-food product categories to see how much we could save. Stuart has helped us with compiling the shopping basket and consolidating the list before we embark on getting the best possible price and service levels through tendering on the open market. Tendering is Pelican’s expertise so this is a key area where a consultant can deliver real value, whilst ensuring a completely fair and transparent process. I was pleasantly surprised that when we look at contracts with Pelican’s help, we by and large make savings! As an experienced, savvy purchaser, Kevin has also found one surprising benefit of external help. “Pelican has become a very useful arbiter ensuring we get the best deal, at the service levels we require. However, there’s a lot more support with fact-finding and informed decision making. It’s about that partnership, about being able to ask questions and get answers straight away. It really does feel like an extension to our business.”

11/02/2020 11:02

T h e Y ear A h ead B usiness Technologies With the garden centres catching up with the wider retail world in terms of technology, it seems as though 2020 could well be a breakthrough year for new processes and systems. David says: “I expect we will see more electronic point of sale devices in store. Electronic plant kiosks are now available, and I suspect the chemical and fertiliser manufacturers will soon launch their own in-store electronic

2020 could well be a breakthrough year for new processes and systems



information kiosks. Software that helps us manage our staff cost will become more widely used as well.” EPOS is also an area that garden centres may capitalise on. Not all garden centres currently have an EPOS system, but with the service providers adding increasingly important systems and processes, it won’t be long until this type of technology is a must-have, not a nice-to-have for running a successful business. Trends It’s no secret that the population is becoming increasingly aware of their impact on the environment. Many consumers are seeking out eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives to products they currently use. Tim says: “There will be more Tim Greenway of a ‘green’ feel. We’re likely to see more recycled products, reusing water, peat-free compost, etc.”

Many consumers are seeking out eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives to products they currently use

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Garden Centre Retail asks David Little, MD at Bedfordshire-based Poplars Garden Centre, and Tim Greenway, o igh eld Garden World in Gloucestershire, about what this year looks like for the garden centre industry In terms of retailing, David says we’ll see “two distinct markets with a blurred middle ground. The value retailers who will continue to offer gardening products on David Little price, and quality-driven retailers who will present a more upmarket offer and higher levels of service. These two will move further apart and both will prosper as they tailor their offer to their target customer. Garden centres caught between the two may struggle.”

Having a busy restaurant helps to keep a more diverse customer as people will still travel for good quality, home cooked food

Target audience and buying habits Although the target audience is unlikely to change this year, David, whose centre targets families at the weekend and the retired gardener during the week, believes buying habits may change for the better of garden centres. He says: “After April there should be a bit more disposable income around as pay rates rocket. Our customers still want a nice place to visit, meet, dine and shop.” 

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


11/02/2020 10:54

B usiness T h e Y ear A h ead As garden centres continue to buck the high street trend and flourish as retail outlets, Tim believes the restaurant is still a vital cog in the business. He says: “Having a busy restaurant helps to keep a more diverse customer as people will still travel for good quality, home cooked food.”

Many sites are becoming mini high streets with a wide offer of clothing, food, gifts and core gardening

amily riendly ca

at Poplars Garden Centre

ers fi at n And talking of diversifying, it’s likely we’ll see garden centres staying ahead of the game, even if there is a miraculous high street revival. David says: “Many sites are becoming mini high streets with a wide offer of clothing, food, gifts and core gardening.” But, he says, the challenge isn’t necessarily where garden centres can diversify, it’s making sure that the retailing of each different sector is at a consistent, high standard.

One thing is for sure, though. Garden centres can only continue to diversify as long as space allows. Tim says: “Space is more critical than ever with most centres increasing the size of their restaurant offering. There’s little space for other departments.” Good performers David predicts that toys and games may be a big category in sales for garden retailers this year. He also believes that the core gardening and lifestyle products will be successful, as long as the great British weather holds. He says: If the sun shines and we have another hot summer, then garden furniture and patio plants will do well.” Tim agrees with this. He says: “Anything to do with lifestyle will work this year, as more people look to spend quality time in their garden.” Houseplants will continue to show good growth, and food and drink should have another good year, with both the food hall and in-store catering performing well. Challenges Although, from a retailer’s perspective, the minimum wage rise in April 2020 could be a positive for the tills, Tim believes that, as a business, this could be a challenge. He also thinks that consumers, who want a perfect garden for leisure, but want instant results, could lead to a challenge in some categories. But he does see a positive in this, too. He says: “Sales of pre-planted hanging baskets and tubs, for example, will continue to increase.” As for David, he sees one big challenge – absorbing rising costs. He says: “Staff costs are set to rocket, and we need to find ways of passing this on to the customer. An increase in the National Minimum Wage affects just about everything we buy, as suppliers

igh eld Garden World restaurant outside dining area


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

The future of garden retail.indd 26

igh eld Garden World floral display

Garden centres continue to buck the high street trend and flourish as retail outlets and service providers look to pass on these costs to the retailer. The squeeze will be on. To combat this, David predicts that low margin and low volume lines will have to be discontinued or stocked seasonally. He adds: “Our retail space has to perform – all of it. Staff productivity will need to be closely monitored and we are going to ha e to as for greater flexibility in staff working hours to better align staff working time with the peaks and troughs of the trading day, week and month.” So 2020, although it has its challenges, looks set to be another positive year for garden retailers. The leisure side of the industry continues to drive custom, and as the array of products continues to increase, it’s likely the visitors to the centres will continue to shop and keep the tills ringing. ◗

11/02/2020 10:54

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07/02/2020 11:23

B usiness E PO S



Garden Centre Retail speaks with Christopher Corby, the executive chairman of garden retail specialists orby ellas to find out the benefits of garden centres e ploying an E S syste


s a provider of EPOS systems, my default position is: ”Yes, of course. All garden centres really should have an EPOS system.” It’s obvious, isn’t it? Well, not really. Technology, in whatever sphere it may be used, can be a benefit to our personal and our business lives, so long as it is appropriate to the task and used properly. For example, I want to dig a 30ft-long trench in my garden and decide that I need to use a mechanical digger. But, before calling Diggers-R-Us, I need to consider a few factors. For example, how big a machine do I need? Is my garden gate wide enough? Do I need an operator, or can I do it myself? How much? Should I simply use a shovel? Or maybe, do what I usually do, simply ask my son-in-law to sort it out? A similarly-thought process is needed when deciding whether or not to adopt EPOS. It may well be appropriate for your business, but some careful thought is needed.

calculated at any time • Purchase order creation is quick, simple and accurate • Stock-take times can be greatly reduced • Reports, charts and analysis are easy and quick to produce, helping to maintain a timely and accurate picture of the health of your business • Sophisticated customer loyalty schemes can be maintained • CRM (customer relationship management) enables customers to be targeted with a view to increasing sales. The list is far fro definiti e ut, as per the digger analogy, there is much to consider before deciding to introduce EPOS. Here are a few things: • You will need to dedicate time and resources when introducing EPOS for the first ti e There is a lot of information to create, particularly stock data • Have you got a person or a team with

the skills and willingness to introduce and run a new system? • You will need to set aside time for staff training • Does the EPOS provider have the skills and experience to implement and support your system? • You will need to be patient, the benefits are unli ely to materialise for at least three months, or maybe longer. We were recently approached by a garden centre, who had been using cash registers for many years. They were sceptical about introducing EPOS, but went ahead anyway. They wrote to us: “Since making our decision in early 2019 to install an EPOS system, we have seen an increase in efficiency e ha e also realised that our ‘best sellers’ weren’t what we thought they were, which means that we can now consider making changes to our existing offers – particularly relevant as we have a new restaurant due to open in 2020.” ◗

It may well be appropriate for your business, but some careful thought is needed Firstly, let’s look at some benefits of using E S • Till operators can quickly and accurately make a sale, with little or no knowledge of the products they are selling • It is easy to create and maintain promotions, ranging from simple BOGOF offers to complex multi-buy schemes • Its easy-to-maintain, accurate stock control records in real-time • Up-to-date stock valuations can be


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

is it worth it.indd 28

11/02/2020 13:45

E PO S B usiness


Garden Centre Retail presents some of the industry specialist EPOS suppliers Davidson Richards OpSuite CSY Retail Systems Vector EPOS • Quotation available on request • A great team on our ‘seven days a week’ helpdesk, a dedicated account manager and project managers, plus dedicated EPOS training sessions. With over 100 garden centres using CSY, we know what garden centres look for in EPOS. Over the past 32 years, we have designed and built our EPOS to be perfect for independent nurseries, garden centres and multi-site garden centres across the UK. Our system is designed to handle all that a busy garden centre can throw at it, with a touchscreen interface for ease of use, integrated features like loyalty and gift cards, as well as real-time stocktaking, comprehensive reporting and plant labelling. Maybe you sell online, or want to but don’t know where to start? We can help you integrate your website to our system, or our in-house web design team can create you a bespo e e o erce site to fit your business.

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• Provided on a low monthly subscription basis • Davidson Richards provides a full service to garden centres, including weekday, weekend and bank holiday support As EPOS and retail management specialists for garden centres, Davidson Richards works for independent retailers with single stores, multiple sites and destinations centres across the UK and Ireland. OpSuite allows you to manage your entire retail operation from a single solution. In-store, the resilient and easy-to-use tills and mobile devices help your team provide great customer service in the garden centre, hospitality and mobile locations. Secure cloudbased retail management in the bac office deli ers total freedo to access your infor ation 24/7 and powerful reports, emailed updates and business alerts keep you in control. OpSuite seamlessly connects your webstore and other business applications including financial accounting, warehousing, ticketing and card payments. Maximising customer loyalty is easy too through the loyalty, promotions and OpSuite Mobile App. OpSuite delivers a lower total cost of ownership, greater security, resilience and the ability to flex in line with business and seasonal demands. With no software to buy upfront, our low monthly subscription includes support, backups and updates to leave you free to focus on retailing. Trading for over 40 years, over 70% of customers previously used a different EPOS solution. The team includes ex-garden retailers to bring their experience to ensure you gain axi u benefit fro your in est ent during the project and ongoing support. opsuite-epos-for-garden-centres/

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


12/02/2020 11:53

B usiness E PO S

Swan Retail Cygnus • From £25 per month

Garden centres have become destination retailers, offering retail, hospitality and leisure activities, events, and education, while managing a rotation of products and themes according to the time of year. Swan’s specialist applications are designed with all these functions in mind. With over 80 garden centres already using Swan’s solutions, we understand this is a multi-faceted business. Swan Retail’s end-to-end retail applications are developed in-house, allowing the co pany to tailor its solutions to fit the unique requirements of garden centres of all sizes. Swan covers everything – from nursery and concession management, ordering and product imports to display ticketing, accounting and stock management. Swan’s applications support multi-channel retailing, from bricks and mortar premises to a bespoke website, and they can help with

Open Retail Solutions Multi Retail • Pricing varies depending on what you require • Phone support: 8am to 8pm, 362 days a year • New customers will receive onsite training, and at least one engineer will be onsite the day you start using the till system

branding and marketing too. Swan offers HTA Garden Retail Monitor to measure sales against regional and national averages. Crosschannel loyalty is becoming more and more important to the garden centre industry, as well as promotions management and customer relationship management (CRM). The in-house designed apps give you insight into customers’ activity, which allows you to target intelligently with communication and promotions. The garden centre industry is growing and changing, and Swan Retail is here to facilitate that with easily updateable responsive solutions.

NedFox RetailVista • Pay for what you use • General support is provided remotely, to a very high standard and tills continue to operate, in the event of an internet outage The RetailVista system was launched in 2008 and is used by over 400 retailers, predominantly in the garden centre sector. RetailVista is an innovative, cost-effective and future-proof EPOS and retail management system, soon to replace many sub-standard server-based systems that are still being used. Being ‘cloud-based’ enables RetailVista to operate on an open platform, providing real-time integration with unlimited third parties, including smart functionalities like RetailVista Mobile, RetailVista Purchase Invoice Control, Personal Customer Retention Programmes, and fully-integrated webshops, as well as the standard functionalities.

Multi Retail is a simple, yet sophisticated, fully-integrated EPOS solution. With all sales and stock being updated in real time, you have a handle on what is happening within your business right now, and can use this information to make more informed decisions. Data analysis tools help a e si ple changes that could a e significant improvements to your business. Check today’s takings and top performing products from anywhere on the planet with an internet connection using our mobile app. Open Retail Solutions is with you onsite the day you go live and again afterwards for post-sales support and training.


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

EPoS suppliers.indd 30

11/02/2020 08:55

Waste S ol utions B usiness


MANAGEMENT Garden Centre Retail speaks with the National Resource Consortium (NRC) about how they’ve helped Frosts Garden Centres revolutionise their waste management systems and reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill

Garden Centres Waste management requirement: general waste, mixed recycling, wood waste, inert waste, metal waste, green waste, cardboard, pallets, fil and plastic pots and trays. Solution: NRC recommended that all main sites had new equipment installed to reduce man hours for loading balers and producing mill sized bales for onward trading. The change has ensured that all sites now recycle card, fil , pots and trays, recei ing the best possible rebates from the market.

Frosts Garden Centres Restaurants Waste management requirement: general waste, mixed recycling, food and glass. Solution: Each restaurant now has internal containers for preparation food waste and clean down food waste, enabling NRC to collect sorted food waste and to send it away for recycling and energy recovery at anaerobic digestion plants. Glass is segregated into allocated bins in the ‘clean down area’, and sent for crushing and re-processing into new products. Mixed recycling is taken to MRF’s (materials recovery facility) where the valuable material is extracted, bailed and sent for reprocessing. General waste is sent to energy plants and converted into electricity.

waste management.indd 31


rosts Garden Centres is an awardwinning, family-owned group of garden centres, which has sites at Woburn Sands, Brampton, Willington and Millets Farm in the south of England. The four garden centres create a large amount of mixed waste, including wood waste, inert waste, green waste and plastic pots and trays. Warehousing produces a range of materials, and space at each site is varied.

In the garden centres are busy restaurants which are hired for private events, producing a regular volume of waste materials, as well as peak event volumes too. Challenge Frosts had received a waste management service from a major player for some years. Over time, they had received no improvement ideas, and were subjected to generalised annual price increases. The restaurant tea s were een to find a way to segregate and recycle food waste. Each site operates a very busy restaurant with limited space for extra bins. 

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


11/02/2020 11:28

B usiness Waste S ol utions

The garden centres sell and dispose of a great deal of plastic pots and trays – all either polypropylene or polystyrene. These were either left for customers to dispose of or for the sites to place in the general waste bins. This presented a complex waste management requirement. NRC was asked to review this solution with a view to i pro ing efficiency and reducing costs Solution The NRC approach offers customers a deep analysis of their current arrangements using audit and invoice data to develop a range of scenarios to model potential improvements. In summary, NRC found the following: • Inconsistent approach to separating waste across all centres • Recyclable materials regularly ending up in the general waste stream • Over-charging • Several different suppliers utilised across the group • Lack of improvements or engagement from the existing supplier • No opportunities to implement new systems that would improve value and efficiency NRC recommended and implemented a blueprint solution across the Frosts Garden Centres Group to reduce general waste, increase recycling and to introduce new equipment to improve operating


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

waste management.indd 32

During the analysis process, NRC discovered the following for the group’s main site: It was being over-charged by £16,000 by its former supplier and were locked in for nine months. Frosts requested a short term of additional collections over the busy Christmas period. The contractor required a new duty of care transfer to be signed which, unknown to the customer, combined the Duty of Care and Service Agreement in the same document – locking in an unrequired additional collection for nearly a year. The contractor collected wheeled bins and charged for all containers, whether they were full or not. When those containers were above the maximum weight, they charged all the containers the overweight charge – effectively charging twice. efficiency and better aterials alue uring the audits, identified all the waste streams and their volumes and proposed a standard, blueprint solution for all sites, designed to maximise segregation, increase recycling and reduce general waste. The blueprint required a range of skips for the following materials: • Wood – recovered as a biofuel • Metal – recycled

• Inert – recycled into aggregates and topsoils • Green – composted NRC took the back-up data and proved that the customer was due overweight credits of over £6,000. Unfortunately, the contractor refused to amend the services to the post-Christmas requirement, therefore charging the customer for servicing unused containers – at profit ◗

11/02/2020 11:29



GIMA Sustainability products set to help boost sales this Spring


SELLING SHEDS Preventing potentially lost sales from a show site


MERCHANDISING How to best merchandise your barbecues


GARDEN CARE Language choices and how they can impact retail growth


LATEST PRODUCTS: GARDEN CARE Six innovative new care items


CHRISTMAS TRENDS 2020 The latest from Harrogate Christmas Fair


GROW YOUR OWN A selection of exciting home-grow options


PAVING The latest paving choices for trending outdoor spaces


WATERING New essentials on offer for aspiring gardeners

Products cover.indd 33

11/02/2020 15:08

G I M A S ustainab il ity


ith the spring gardening season around the corner, retailers will be keeping their fingers crossed for good weather to ignite sales of core gardening products. There’s plenty of innovation for 2020 as GIMA members lead the way in environmentally-friendly horticulture. In the watering category, GARDENA is focusing on sustainable watering to drive sales. With lower than average rainfall over the past three years, GARDENA is anticipating high demand for its automated drip irrigation system. Edward Cantle, field sales manager UK at GARDENA, says: “When combined with a GARDENA water control, the system delivers precisely the right amount of water to the root area, exactly when the plant needs it, saving time and money.” Similarly, Hozelock is gearing-up to meet demand for efficient irrigation with its new Select Controller, the latest addition to its automatic watering range for time-pressed consumers. It offers 16 pre-set watering programmes, water butt compatibility Hozelock and easy set-up. Select Controller Westland brand Flopro says consumers will be looking to replace watering equipment which may not have survived winter. The Flopro Classic Hose Reel is wall-mounted or freestanding, and co es with of hosepipe and fittings This is an ideal pallet promotion to kick off the season, while the product design allows for easy stacking for maximum impact instore. Chemicals, fertilisers, weedkillers and natural controls are key drivers of springtime sales, and Evergreen Garden Care has a major launch for 2020. Lindsay Cooper, plant food category Flopro manager at Evergreen Garden Care, says: “With shoppers looking for natural gardening products with less plastic, Evergreen is introducing the Miracle-Gro Performance Organics range. Suitable for organic growing, the range of 100% natural gardening products can help gardeners to grow plants twice as big, organically.” Super Smart Lawn Feed from Johnsons Lawn Seed is spearheading


Springtime sales are set for a boost as innovation propels sustainability to the forefront of core gardening categories a revolution in the lawncare category as natural fertilisers eat into market share once dominated by chemicals. Johnsons Lawn Seed’s consumer manager, Guy Jenkins, says: “Super Smart Lawn Feed is ideally Super Smart positioned to help retailers Lawn Feed target growing interest in natural lawncare ith beneficial bacteria to feed lawns, and micronutrients to enrich the green appearance of grass and mycorrhizae to boost root growth, this feed represents true innovation with the potential to help retailers create a real point of difference this spring.” DLF Seeds, the parent company of Johnsons Lawn Seed, is the exclusive new UK distributor of the natural gardening portfolio from Neudorff. Guy adds: “With metaldehyde off the shelves, attention is turning to alternative slug controls. Neudorff’s Sluggo Slug & Snail Killer Ultra holds the key to meeting consumer demand for effective slug control. Its powerful active ingredient (Iron-III-phosphate) is double strength, while micro-pellets offer additional baiting points.” ecofective® is also ready to help retailers plug gaps left by the loss of metaldehyde. ecofective®’s head of sales, Nigel Thompson, explains: “New ecofective® Ferrimax® Slug Killer is approved for organic growing and provides maximum protection against slugs. With concerns over glyphosate driving the move to natural weed control, ecofective®’s Weed + Moss Killer and Weed Blast caters for growing demand for chemical-free weedkilling.”

Bloomin Amazing, the ‘no-dig soil conditioner, feed and mulch all-in-one’, is 100% peat-free and sourced entirely from renewable byproducts from the production of biogas. The company states that it’s an ideal mulch, weed suppressant, soil conditioner and plant food, with additional moisture retention and even slug-deterrent properties being reported. Another brand utilising the production of biogas is Natural Grower, the maker of organic, vegan-friendly liquid fertiliser and soil conditioner. Owner Charlotte Beaty says: “Natural Liquid Fertiliser and Natural

Natural Grower Soil Conditioner

Soil Conditioner are ideally positioned to meet the needs of gardeners who will be looking to improve soil prior to planting this Spring, but are increasingly shunning synthetic fertilisers and soil improvers that contain animal byproducts.” For further information, please contact GIMA on 01959 564947 or ◗ ABOUT

The Garden Industry Manufacturer’s Association (GIMA) is a membership organisation of around 150 members representing the majority share of suppliers and manufacturers operating within the UK gardening industry. The range of services and support provided for members is extensive, offering something for all members, regardless of size or heritage.

ecofective® Ferrimax® Slug Killer


GIMA.indd 34

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2019

11/02/2020 09:02

•••••••••• �




At ROYAL CANIN®, we have been committed to providing cats and dogs with tailor-made nutrition for over 50 years. Garden Centres are a great opportunity to provide pets with quality nutrition and provide your customers with another reason to visit. We are offering unique ranges and merchandising solutions for Garden Centres to make implementation easy and provide you with a great additional sales opportunity.

For more information please contact us on 0330 678 1520

Advert template.indd 9

07/02/2020 11:24

Products O utdoor S tructures



Are customers looking at garden sheds in your garden centre, and frustratingly going away and buying online instead? Power Sheds reveals some top-secret tips on how you can convert your visitors and not lose them to online competitors


ne of the main reasons a customer would buy online is that it’s cheaper. Think about what a customer would do – if you can open Google and search for the name of a shed (or brand) on your show site and find it cheaper, then they will choose to buy online instead of from your garden centre. What can you do about it? Speak to your shed supplier. Will they offer you an option to sell the shed unbranded? Can you re-brand the shed so they can t find the sa e shed online You may be able to negotiate the shed supplier to supply alternative branded or unbranded brochures as well This way, when they search for that shed online, they won t be able to find it Can you negotiate trade prices to compete? As you endure the cost of retail space, which online retailers don t, can you have a deal or pricing structure that will allow you to match online prices?


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

Selling sheds from site.indd 36

Getting the sale Most customers like to go away and ‘think about it’. This usually means they want to go away and try find it online for a cheaper price Therefore, it s i portant you gi e them a reason to buy from you on that day rather than going away. Is there scope to offer a price match if they find it online cheaper ou need to make sure you know the online prices to make sure you can honour this. This might mean it will give the customer the confidence to buy right away Staff training Another big reason a customer would leave a show site is that they do not see the shed that they want, e en though the style or size might be something which can be offered that’s not on display. t is, therefore, i portant that staff are on hand to assist and answer questions. The staff member should be aware of all the models that can be produced and details on what can be done if the customer wants a bespoke model. The shed supplier can often offer this training if you ask. This can be one of their reps coming down to your garden centre to train your staff, or if that s not possible, ask them to train over the phone or run a webinar. The FAQs which a customer can as , include • Can it be made in a different size? • Can you move the door? • What is the lead time? • What is the difference between overlap and shiplap? • Is it pressure treated?

Ensure your staff know the answer to all these questions and can comfortably find the prices on a price list Point of sale f your sheds need a point of sale, put this back on your shed supplier. Ask for the to supply brochures, branding, and informative posters which provide specifications and ey features of the sheds. Ask them for banners for the front of the show site to advise customers you have sheds for sale. If there is a promotion or sale on, as the for ar eting to help promote the sale. If they don’t offer pro otions, as if they will do one for you to drive sales. ◗

ABOUT Power Sheds, based in Bradford, is a manufacturer of wooden garden sheds, supplying to both trade and retail customers. Power Sheds offers a three-day delivery on its whole range of garden sheds, bike sheds, and potting sheds, and can even deliver throughout Europe.

11/02/2020 10:48

Lofa Assured is an intitiative to ensure all cushions sold by LOFA Members comply with current Government Fire Safety Regulations. To find out more visit In Partnership with Hertfordshire Trading Standards and FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association). Advert template.indd 10

11/02/2020 11:05

M erch andising B arb ecues


MERCHANDISING WITH MANUFACTURERS As garden centres prepare for the sunnier seasons, the barbecue offering is set to be the crown jewel of the customer journey. We talk to two industry-leading manufacturers on how they can help merchandise products best


s people all across the UK begin to prepare for the warmer months, garden centres need to proactively prepare for customers looking to get their perfect summer setup ready. Barbecues will be the centrepiece of the summer garden for many this year – however, barbecues are far from a light investment, and merchandising them correctly is essential to get the best for both discerning customers and intrepid retailers. When it comes to traditional merchandising methods, POS (point of sale) display materials is still the standard. While this is effective, approaches to merchandising are becoming more varied than ever. Christopher Stuckey, senior

BBQs.indd 38

It’s great to have these events where you can physically show people what they can do Chris notes that Campingaz has built a vast amount of experience with barbecue POS across Europe over the years and can draw on an impressive track record to offer advice and guidance on what wor s best to dri e sell-through This is something it shares with Weber, another manufacturer that has been an international industry leader with decades of history. Julie Larcombe, Weber’s trade marketing manager for western Europe,

Weber Summit® E-670 GBS Gas Barbecue


UK marketing manager at Campingaz, explains: “We offer a wide range of modular POS options for garden centre retailers, from lid stickers calling out features and benefits, to large in-store stands which create a strong branded area. We also offer a bespoke Culinary Modular System display stand which separates out all the cooking accessories, helping the end user see all the different options available.”

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

Campingaz Attitude 2100 LX

expands on its offering: “A great merchandising example that is directed at end users is lid-on coo ing e ad ise retailers ensure that, on the shop floor, lids are down and closed. This encourages the lid-on coo ing method as well as more customer interaction – if the lid is down and a custo er co es along, the first thing they are going to do is open it up. Sales colleagues can follow up on this interest or just help to keep them in that area for a little bit longer, increasing the consideration time.” Weber, much like Campingaz, utilises a range of POS materials, including stands, literature and TV displays. For example, the Summit ® Charcoal range has a stand that lifts the product off the floor and lets the custo er ha e an in-depth loo at it as soon they encounter it. Julie also emphasises that a true understanding of the product is key to selling Weber’s barbecues to customers effectively. For example, the manufacturer’s Weber World stores (designated sections in select garden centres that offer Weber’s full range, servicing and demos) require a tactical approach to ensure they can cater to new and returning customers. “We work really closely with these garden centres, for

12/02/2020 15:47

B arb ecues M erch andising exa ple by a ing sure that they ha e all the tools needed to pro ote products or that they ha e the right literature to share with custo ers Staff nowledge is a powerful tool to ha e when it co es to pro oting a garden

eber also hosts educational e ents e onstrations that do wonders to pro ote accessories and barbecues in use ulie explains e ha e a great tea of eber chefs that can highlight the products across our range They typically set up outside a store and coo up a selection of really delicious dishes which can totally inspire the custo er, gi ing the a great start to the custo er ourney great thing the chefs help with is pro oting accessories This often co ers our our et Syste , which includes pizza stones, a poultry roaster and a wo usto ers are always a azed that you can create eals li e a pizza on the barbecue,

Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub

centre s barbecue offering, and one that Chris also highlights a pingaz has recently signed up to use a ideo training platfor which will enable store staff to access a selection of online training ideos to help the get to grips with the product features This is handy, especially when it co es to Weber Pizza Stone understanding additional sales opportunities barbecues present a pingaz offers so it s great to ha e these e ents where pro otions for cylinders with tableyou can physically show people what they top ttitude barbecues, for exa ple can do t s great to see the astounded owe er, accessories ay be ing when by the possibilities it co es to adding alue to barbecue s we go fro inno ation to inno ation, erchandising technology is a ing products ore ulie explains e put so e i pressi e, but also ore co plex accessories on our product tic ets and or exa ple, eber onnect which tal about these ith our harcoal range, pro ises to turn any barbecue into we would a e sure that the custo er a s art barbecue in ol es a hardware wal s away with a chi ney starter and and a software ele ent, and pro oting charcoal so that they can get e erything this effecti ely is quite unli e encouraging running within to inutes This ust a custo er to grab an extra pair of tongs wor s towards a ing sure the custo er ulie says To get this all infor ation has a really great experience and not going across about our cloud-based app and bac frustrated to the garden centre the S art rilling ub lso placing alue on accessories, requires a ore interacti e hris says This is particularly i portant approach to be ost for a pingaz when tal ing about the effecti e t s got to ulinary odular Syste There are show the benefits of coo ing accessories that can be added that technology and to the sale, and the pro otion of these is why it a e sense for built into our essaging and S options custo ers to purchase it hris also points out that in-store oth eber and de onstrations are an extre ely effecti e a pingaz a e way of highlighting the alfresco capabilities use of ideos to help of the ulinary odular Syste ifferent retailers pro ote ore coo ing options are brought to life and ad anced products a buzz is created in-store or exa ple,

BBQs.indd 39

Staff knowledge is a powerful tool to have when it comes to promoting a garden centre’s barbecue offering the dishwashable InstaClean feature, or blue fla e burners, which pro ide e en te perature distribution on choices li e the ttitude or the aster lancha hris says: “These are all great features that i pro e the coo ing experience, but they do need to be explained to the custo er ideo screens with supporting content integrated into the display are one way to easily and effecti ely co unicate these features to the end user ulie also notes the rele ance of ideo aterials, but e phasises that they aren t a necessity There s also a ideo playing on the Su it stand that lets us shout out the specific ey ele ents of our product and brand ou wouldn t necessarily see so ething li e that with our asterTouch Series hile they are both great products, the Su it ust has a lot ore features to get across and we want to a e sure the custo er is con inced as to why it s worth the extra in est ent ideos aren t the only solution, custo ers ta e in infor ation at e ery stage of the custo er ourney ith this in ind, erchandising barbecues effecti ely can be a dyna ic challenge ro S, to ideos, to li e de onstrations, there are opportunities to present great deals, highlight exciting products and send custo ers ho e happy and confident that they ha e exactly what they need for the su er ahead

Campingaz Gold Dealer Display

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


12/02/2020 15:48

Products G arden C are

ENCOURAGING GROWTH WITH POSITIVE LANGUAGE Garden Centre Retail speaks with Evergreen Garden Care managing director Mark Portman to discuss the potential negative impact that language in the gardening category can have on consumer patterns and what actions Evergreen Garden Care are taking to change this


n March 2018, Mark Portman became managing director of Evergreen Garden Care, the company that owns Miracle-Gro, Roundup and Weedol, amongst others. As someone new to this market and having spent a lot of time in the food industry, he noticed that the language used in gardening is very black and white. Of the category, Mark said: “You don’t go into a supermarket and see chemicals as a category header for food. If you go and buy soft drinks, it doesn’t say sugary drinks, does it? If you buy a dessert, it doesn’t say high-calorie desserts, it says indulgent moments. “One of the things that struck me, was walking into a store and seeing our products and our competitors’ products under a big banner that labels them as chemicals. That is one way to turn people off buying stuff. “My initial observation about this industry is that we have always spoken in such a functional way. A good example would be the language surrounding weedkillers. We have Roundup and Weedol, and our adverts from the last 10 years communicate that the product will kill a weed – kill it faster and kill more of it. However, my belief is that people don’t buy a weedkiller to kill a weed,


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

Garden care feature.indd 40

they buy it because they want a beautiful garden they can enjoy. Customers buy a weedkiller to enjoy the emotional benefit of ha ing a weed-free garden Changing the tune Growth from Knowledge (GFK), a society for consumer research, shows minimal growth to the gardening category for the past fi e years ith this in ind, Evergreen Garden Care undertook a usage and attitude study, in which 5,000 British gardeners were interviewed so that consumer behaviour could be better understood. As a result of this research, the company will be moving forward by changing the language used in the gardening category.

“This category should be growing; gardening is on trend, it helps promote sustainable growing and provides a place to practice mindfulness, and improve physical wellbeing. All of the elements that should be driving category growth are there, for example, there are more and ore people growing plants indoors Last year, Evergreen Garden Care implemented a different style of creative execution for their 2019 TV adverts promoting Roundup. Instead of focusing on the process of killing weeds, the advert showed the benefits consu ers could enjoy from looking after their garden. Mark explains: “This messaging will be the direction of travel for our creative going forward. It is the language that we will be using on the point of sale equipment instore. We will also look at the language we use on our packaging, and these changes are all based on the findings fro our study on custo er attitude and usage Evergreen Garden Care’s new messaging takes a step away from the functional language that garden care products have traditionally held. If garden centres start carrying bigger portfolios, incorporating more natural products and dropping the word ‘chemical’ from garden care discourse, then the future looks good.

11/02/2020 09:23

G arden C are Latest Products

GARDEN CARE Mycorrhizal Fungi 150g Rootgrow

Solabiol® Top Lawn SBM Life Science LTD

• art of the E pathy plant starter range • ycorrhizal fungi increases the root area when added to soil at the point of planting • Improves water/nutrient uptake • icensed by the S • In-store and plantaria S is a ailable

• A long-lasting lawn feed with natural seaweed • Feeds twice as long versus leading natural lawn food brand • re ents weeds and oss naturally • Produces thicker and greener lawn • Child and pet safe

RRP £4.99

RRP £8.99

Q4 All Purpose Liquid Vitax Ltd

Natural Fertiliser PlantGrow

• Packed with organic nutrients to create bigger, brighter blooms and deliver bumper crops • Contains a unique formula which boosts rooting and optimises nutrient uptake • Contains seaweed, humates and trace elements • Used around the garden for both indoor and outdoor plants

• A natural, pure liquid plant food that fertilises flowers, plants, fruit and vegetables with outstanding results • ade by plants for plants • 100% chemical free • Vegan, organic, kind to the environment • Safe for wildlife RRP £6.99

Miracle-Gro Performance Organics All Purpose Liquid Concentrate Food Evergreen Garden Care • A new range of natural plant food that doesn t lac in perfor ance or efficiency • A high-performance, organic product that grows plants twice as big, organically • For use all around the home and garden within pots, containers, beds and borders • Provides visible results, se en days after application • Plant-based and suitable for vegan growers and is packaged in 100% recycled plastic RRP £5.29

Latest Products Garden Care Products.indd 41

RRP £7.99

Weed Free Plus Neudorff • isible results within day after treat ent • Longlasting control against regrowth of tough weeds – stops roots from growing • Active ingredient content: 31.02 g/L pelargonic acid, g aleic hydrazide • Effecti e against a wide ariety of annual and perennial weeds and grasses • Treated areas can be replanted after ust one day RRP 750ml trigger bottle, £6.99; concentrate 510ml bottle, £10.99; 1020ml bottle, £19.99

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


07/02/2020 11:53

Products C h ristm as T rends

“We anticipate a continuation of the classic Christmas colours and elegant glass tree trim but we also expect to see a lean towards more sustainable products made from felt, wood, metal and glass with less glitter and plastic – all of which we are delighted to feature across many of our ranges.”

“We have seen a few different trends emerging for Christmas 2020. Delicate decorations with a more feminine touch are adding an elegant feel to festive décor with a variety of pastel shades and shimmering lustre finishes “Contemporary interiors are also incredibly popular, and this year’s decorations are definitely reflecting that look with minimalistic shapes and modern aterials in sil er and onochro e finishes “As always, traditional festive décor will never go out of fashion, but this year has seen the traditional silvers, reds and golds joined by dark greens, burnt oranges and stylish blues for an added dash of colour.” Clare Beavis, Culinary Concepts

Amy Thorley, marketing manager, Floralsilk

CHRISTMAS TRENDS AT HARROGATE CHRISTMAS FAIR Check out some of the top Christmas decorations for 2020 with tips from various suppliers and our pictorial inspiration from the show


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

Christmas Trends at Harrogate.indd 42

11/02/2020 11:59

C h ristm as T rends Products “This year, we are anticipating an increased demand for bolder winter colours, such as navy, gold, purple and green. Our Aurora range meets this demand with a stunning selection of birds, baubles, feather wreaths, garlands, and much more, based on the colours of the northern lights, whilst our Midnight Gold range brings together a sophisticated and elegant combination of navy blue and gold. “As sustainability becomes an ever more pressing issue, consumer demand for environmentally friendly products is set to grow throughout the year. Ascalon is therefore taking steps to improve the sustainability of our ranges, and this year we are reducing the use of plastic packaging across our festive selection.” Minty Stokes-Rhys, marketing manager, Ascalon Designs

“We’ve noticed a growing trend for decorative designs which can be used outside and in, especially when lit, along with increased demand for soft and cuddly characters, such as our gorgeous Gonks. There is still a good market for traditional items such as Nutcrackers, but we’ve given them a refresh by introducing a wide array of colours and designs, including a bold pink and white family – absolutely crackers!” Jonathan Stobart, managing director, Smart Garden Products

Christmas Trends at Harrogate.indd 43

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


11/02/2020 11:59

Bathgate offer retailers a comprehensive range of high-quality horticultural products

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Extensive range available from 2L - 10L throughout the year


11/02/2020 14:21

G row Y our O w n Latest Products

GROW YOUR OWN Tomato Cocktail Crush Kings Seeds

Bio-Based Growing Pots Garland Products and Worth Gardening Ltd • Made from 100% natural plant-based raw materials • Suited to natural organic growing • Manufactured using a plant-based polymer that is 100% biodegradable and industrially compostable in accordance with EN 13432 standards • Produce 30% lower CO2 emissions than a similar pot made from recycled polypropylene RRP £1.49 to £2.49

• A standard size red tomato with fruits weighing 35 to 40g • Sweet to taste with a slight acid tangy fla our • Si ilar in habit and fla our to old favourite Ailsa Craig, but with the added benefit of showing good blight resistance • Ideal for growing outdoors or in a cold glasshouse RRP £2.50

Medium Vegepod Vegepod • Self-contained raised garden beds with a commercial grade canopy • Allows for truly organic gardening • The canopy creates a microclimate • Self-watering wicking system, co bined with an o erflow hole • Size: 100cm / 39in (L) x c in RRP £189

Micro-Grow Grow Sow Simple

Gallery Collection Plant Stands Veg Trug Ltd

• An easy-to-use, soil-free, hydroponic growing kit for microgreens • Includes everything needed to grow your own microgreens without the use of soil • ontains the sa e fibre at growing media used by professional growers • Includes a two-part mini-propagator tray and lid, grow mat, seeds and an information card

• Suitable for indoor and outdoor use • Strong and sturdy structure manufactured from powdercoated high quality steel • Assembled at home with ease • Attractive designs • ll fixings included • Ideal for storage or perfect for displaying pot plants, books, trinkets, etc.

RRP £3.99 Website available soon

RRP Ranging from £24.99 to £89.99

Grow your own LP.indd 45

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020


07/02/2020 13:01

Latest Products G row Y our O w n

Kitchen herbs G Plants • Large terracotta planter • Dimensions 39cm x 39cm x 15.5cm • Contains four popular herbs basil, parsley, chives and thyme • resh herbs at your fingertips year-round RRP £29.99

Premium walk-in grow house (with shelving) Grow It • Semi-permanent walk-in growhouse with two shelving units – ideal for larger gardens • UV treated and reinforced PE cover that is designed to last • Built with stability pockets to keep the structure sturdy and secure • Poles are coated inside and out to protect against rust • Velcro ties help secure cover to frame with buckles to easily secure the door • 143cm (H) x 143cm (W) x 195cm (D) RRP £119.99

Vitavia Orion Vitavia Greenhouses • Attractive curved eaves for optimum growing height • Available in two sizes, each 1.93m (6’4”) wide • Smooth action sliding door, one roof vent and the Vitavia integral standard gutters • Supplied with UV-protected acrylic panels for the curved eave sections RRP From £456


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

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Houseplant seed collection Suttons Seeds • Houseplants are the ultimate trend in home accessories • Appeal for all ages • Something to suit a variety of tastes • Easy to grow ‘Urban Catcus Collection’ to the unique ‘Bat Flower’ included RRP From £2.49

Vegetable planter Durston Garden Products • An extra large bag with added fertiliser • Perfect for growing a wide range of fruit, vegetables and salad crops RRP £3.99

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What is Strulch Strulch © is a light and easy to use garden mulch made from wheat straw for organic gardening. A patented process is used to ‘preserve’ the straw so that it lasts for up to two years and gives an earthy brown colour. Strulch has a neutral pH and can be used throughout the garden on borders, raised beds, around cultivated fruit and on vegetable plots. • Spend less time weeding Strulch reduces weed growth by up to 95% • Save water Strulch helps retain moisture around plants • Improve your soil Strulch enriches soil and its structure • Use all around the garden Strulch is suitable around flowers, shrubs, fruit and vegetables • Save time and money Strulch, the straw garden mulch, lasts up to two years, spreading the cost, saving water and fertiliser, making your plants grow healthier and stronger and giving you more time to relax. • Slug and Snail deterrent The physical properties of Strulch together with the embedded minerals deters slugs and snails

Want to stock Strulch - The Straw Mulch with Slug and Snail Deterrent? Visit our website to see how we advertise our stockists. Our extensive advertising campaign generates ‘hits’ on our site. Each bag covers 3 x 1sqm. Minimum order 1 pallet x 48 bags delivered within 3 working days. Discounts for multiple pallets. Call for a quotation: 01943 863610 01943 863610

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Latest Products Pav ing

PAVING Baroque Range Bowland Stone

Click Clack Tiles Mercer Agencies

• Sleek smooth lines and fine surface make it a very tactile product • Reproduced in three different sizes • Can be used alone to create a beautiful patio area or combined with a Baroque Oval or Piccolo Oval for striking effect • All available in the colour limestone

• Easy-to-install patio tiles • deal for use on a solid, flat surface • Edging tiles available to create a neat edge • Available in three colours • Large stocks of the full range of tiles RRP £54.99 per square yard Portfolio Natural Wood Porcelain Paving Kelkay • Replicates the look of real wood in tough and resilient material • Stain and UV-resistant • Each tile is precision cut with straight edges • The range is available in a retail display unit

RRP £5.76m2 kit for £244.99, 3.2m Oval for £274.99 and 2.4m Piccolo Oval for £124.99

Porcelain Position Range Global Stone • Includes 17.55m2 project packs, as well as the more traditional single size paving of 600 x 600mm • Project pack consists of: 24 for 600 x 600mm, 38 for 600 x 300mm, and 23 for 300 x 300mm • Available in three new colours: Pose Beige, Outlook Grey and Stance Dark • A hard-wearing product, scratch and abrasion resistant, making it ideal for pathways, patios and driveways • Low maintenance properties making it easy to clean, requiring only mild detergents, brushing or jet washing, and no sealants are required RRP £39.99/m2

RRP £34.99 per twin pack (800mm x 400mm) including home delivery EcoPave Decorative Stepping Stone Deco-Pak • 5p from the sale of each new EcoPave Decorative Stepping Stone will be donated to a bee conservation charity • Features attractive bee designs • Made out of 30% recycled materials • Collection includes Bee Kind (honey colour bee pattern), Honeycomb (honey colour, plain surface), Beenevolent (grey with bee pattern), and Twilight (grey, plain surface) RRP £7.99


Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

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Porcelain Paving - P:osition Range Stance Dark

Global Stone is an industry leading, innovative supplier of premium porcelain and natural stone paving, setts, accessories and features. For more information or to see our full range: │ 0845 60 60 240 (Lo-call rate)

100% recyclable packaging

01458 442688

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Latest Products Watering


Flopro Professional Metal Hose Reel Flopro • Designed to ensure the hose won’t twist or kink when winding • Empty reel holds up to 40m of hosepipe • Easy rewind handle that folds away for easy storage • Made from high quality stainless steel and aluminium • Comes with accessories for wall mounting

Rain System Pot Watering Set Kärcher • Individually volume-regulated droppers • 15 plants can be watered at once • The droppers are easily fixed using ground spikes • No tools required • Included in the kit: 3 small hose stops, 1 large hose stop, 15 drippers and 15 hose spikes for watering pots RRP £40.99

RRP £79.99

Oscillating Sprinkler AquaZoom S GARDENA • Even, puddle-free watering of square and rectangular areas 9m2 up to 350m2 • Features include a stainless steel removable filter, with soft plastic nozzles • Extra wide feet for increased stability • Long life durability with frost and UV resistance • Simple and intuitive setting options

Kew Gardens Collection Water Wand Spear and Jackson

RRP £35.99

Battery Powered Plant Sprayer 1L Spear and Jackson


• The latest addition to a top-selling range of sprayers • Easy touch trigger spray function with an adjustable nozzle for misting and watering indoor and garden plants • Will only spray when the trigger is depressed so there’s not mess or waste • Capacity markings are included on the bottle • Comes complete with two AA batteries

• Soft-feel ergonomic handle with a sliding thumb catch for easy on-off and water flow control • Supplied fitted with high quality brass male connector

RRP £19.99

RRP £30.99

Garden Centre Retail February/March 2020

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• Ideal for reaching up to water hanging baskets and for directing water to the base of plants under foliage or to reach into pots and containers • Multi-functional spray head with a choice of 10 spray settings, ensuring the right water flow for all typical garden applications • Light but strong aluminium shaft in a choice of three classic colours – green, royal blue and purple

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W design e & your g build arden centre

Meet Thermoflor! A specialist with 140 years of experience in glasshouses and conservatories, and especially an expert in the development and construction of garden centres.

New build projects



New and second hand aluminium benching: Fixed, Semi rolling, mobile and sales benches.

VALEKA BV • Heliniumweg 14 • 3133 AX Vlaardingen, The Netherlands Tel: +31-10 599 74 02 • •

FOLLOW US! Garden Centre Retail




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