Garden Centre Retail Nov/Dec 2017

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Garden Centre Retail Issue 34 • November/December 2017







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David Yardley

The poinsettia journey




Innovate and illuminate your store


15/11/2017 09:23

C H RI ST MAS & G I F T FAIR H A R R O G AT E U K 8 – 17 11 JANUARY 2018 14 H A L L M | S TA N D M 1



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17/11/2017 10:19



Garden Centre Retail W

elcome to the last issue of Garden Centre Retail in 2017. It’s been an excellent year for us, and we hope you’ve enjoyed reading the magazine this year. A year of political uncertainty in the UK means that it hasn’t been the easiest year for SMEs, but it seems like the old British adage of ‘keep calm and carry on’ has come to the fore and as always, it seems as though we’ve gotten through it. Moving on to 2018, the political landscape doesn’t get much clearer. Although, early on in the year we may have more of an idea of what’s happening with our country regarding the trading deals with the EU. This will hopefully bring stability to garden centres, particularly those that buy the majority of their products from overseas. Things will surely settle down, prices may or may not fluctuate, but garden centres will remain an integral part of society, with restaurants, play areas and events driving footfall. Onto this month’s issue, we have an excellent interview with the CEO of The Klondyke Group, David Yardley. David is at the helm of a company that turns over £63.5m a year, and it’s really interesting to hear about what he does to drive this. We’ve also got the latest in clean eating for the January custom in our catering focus on page 23 and a look at poinsettias in our plant focus on page 26 with Woodlark Nurseries. We’ve also got loyalty schemes covered on page 20 and all the info needed to manage your Christmas staff from an HR perspective on page 17. Product-wise, we have greetings cards, candles and statues covered. This can all be found from page 37 onwards. That’s it for this year. See you next year for more business from Garden Centre Retail. But for now, on behalf of myself and the GCR team, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a profitable New Year.

Horticulture Careers – Laura Harris Tel: 01903 777 580

Joe Wilkinson Managing Editor Garden Centre Retail

Moving on to 2018, the political landscape doesn’t get much clearer. Although, early on in the year we may have more of an idea of what’s happening with our country regarding the trading deals with the EU

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Garden Centre Retail is published bimonthly by Eljays44 Ltd. 2017 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

ADVERTISING Sales Manager – Tina Savelle Tel: 01903 777 582


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Joe and the GCR team

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Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


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4-8 February 2018

Glee’s opening a brand new concession at the UK’s No.1 home and gift event, Spring Fair! Glee at Spring Fair is a great opportunity for retailers to see new and best-selling ranges ahead of the spring/summer buying season. Providing a platform to see the latest concepts and trends, the concession will showcase some fantastic suppliers from a variety of Glee’s core show sectors, giving them massive exposure to the thousands of visitors who attend.

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27/10/2017 08:38 11:15 07/11/2017




What are the garden trends for 2018?



David Yardley, The Klondyke Group




eportin back from the arden utures onference




A roundup of the latest news from the sector


Trends in garden features


Tips to plan ahead and ensure all Christmas temps are treated fairly

ips for displayin cards in your centre


e inspired by hristmas displays

How to maximise sales and footfall over the festive season


tatues, ornaments and candles



he benefits and considerations of implementin a loyalty scheme


Neudorff Nematodes


evitalise your caterin offer for the new year with the top 2018 trends


Get straight to the point with poinsettias this Christmas








osh c ain e plores how retail habits have chan ed this year


Innovate and illuminate with the latest in retail lighting


Look ahead to the Harrogate Christmas & Gift Fair

Contents_NovDec.indd 5

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


15/11/2017 14:04

News Agenda

WHAT ARE THE GARDEN TRENDS FOR 2018? Brenda Smith Owner, Bud Garden Centre

People like the idea of having beautiful plants in their garden but don’t want any of the hassle associated with it ardy e otics. here seems to be a feature on ardener s orld every week about this and people take notice of thin s they see on the . eople like the idea of havin beautiful plants in their arden but don t want any of the hassle associated with it. e will also see a move towards sustainability within arden centres, particularly re ardin peat free options that s definitely what we re movin towards. inally, shrubs are makin a comeback too.

Jon Bottomley

Commercial director, Newbank Garden Centres Ltd e are e pectin another successful year in with the housin market stallin , the weak pound and the uncertainty of re it, we believe people will invest in their homes and gardens rather than move house or o on holiday. Garden furniture trends from this year will continue into ne t; casual dinin is still a hu e part of the mi but we have seen a swing back to traditional dining and loun e sets. odern shape aluminium seems to be coming back into trend with outdoor cushions and rugs being a nice new addition. he minimalist uropean trend seems to have drifted into other departments such as house plants and home interiors. he succulent and cactus cra e shows no si n of abatin we believe that the style of these plants, plus the fact that they re low maintenance, has been a major reason for their resur ence. eople love house plants, they re ust sick of killin them he decline of beddin plant sales seems to be a trend we are stuck with for now. ince the crash of , people want to spend on plants that will come back year after year coupled with the pressure from the supermarkets, we don t e pect to see a resur ence ne t year. ots and planters are a lar e rowth area for Newbank and we saw some stunnin new styles at lee this year.

We have seen a swing back to traditional dining and lounge sets


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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Dave Gillam

General manager, Abercorn Garden Centre

I think the public will want more re ade o er arrangements for their garden, like minimal maintenance ‘pick up and go’ garden decorations made of real plants I would say, although the manufacturers think that the world is going to be taken over by metal flowers, think the public will want more pre made flower arrangements for their garden, like minimal maintenance pick up and o arden decorations made of real plants. don t think they will be interested in the influ of metal flowers that you can o and poke into a border. lthou h, manufactures can t make real flowers so that could be a problem I would say the industry, in the manufacturing side, thinks the trend is going to be in fairly crude metal decorations, but the public want to see real gardens again that are easily maintained. e will see more lar er plants in containers with more permanent plantin .

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Agenda News

Hannah Powell

Communications manager, Perrywood Garden Centre

Cacti, euphorbia and succulents will continue to be popular House plants are big all round now! Cacti, euphorbia and succulents will continue to be popular as they are so easy to look after, and people will have success with them and repeat buy. Customers are getting more creative and want something

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different, such as hanging plants, climbing plants, plants for terrariums and so on. I hope we will see more of these coming through from our suppliers. Water plants indoors are being seen online, with people like James Wong sharing some interesting ideas, and I hope this translates into sales in 2018. In terms of colour trends, green is now the predominant house plant colour. I wonder whether more colour will start to creep in, as people look to try something different to everyone else. Variegated plants seem to have become more popular on Instagram too. Orchids have become so cheap to produce that we’re seeing some interesting ones coming through

which are excellent value. Fashion pastel colours are also making a comeback, so perhaps pastel colours in plants will follow? We are not yet seeing outdoor plant sales being driven by Instagram trends in quite the same way as house plants, but things like succulents and planted containers are certainly getting attention in these channels. We’ve been promoting ‘takeaway gardens’ this autumn, and I think anything which is compact or dwarf and which can be grown in a pot will continue to be popular. Perhaps driven by the trend for green indoors we will see more customers going for the lush, green tropical schemes outdoors.

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


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NEWS CENTRE Retailers welcome indication of cap on business rate rises


esponding to the report in the Sunday Times that the Chancellor is set to cap the expected 3.9% increase in business rates next spring, Tom Ironside, business and regulation policy director at the BRC, said: “If this report is true it would be a step forward. Without decisive action from the Chancellor in his upcoming budget then retailers face a stark £270m leap in their rates bill from April. This would have huge consequences for retailers’ investment plans.”

Squire’s given ‘Best Garden Centre’ accolade by The Express


quire’s Garden Centres is celebrating after being awarded the title of ‘Best Garden Centre’ at the Express Home and Living Awards 2017. Squire’s, an independent family-owned business with 15 garden centres across the south east, fought off strong competition to take home the prestigious award. A star-studded ceremony was held in October in London’s West End, where the biggest and brightest names in homes and gardens were celebrated. Daily Express owner Richard Desmond championed the awards as a tribute to businesses that turn our houses and flats into happy livin spaces. he ud in panel included Richard Desmond, as well as BBC1 presenters Martin Roberts of Homes Under The Hammer and Gabrielle Blackman of DIY SOS. Mark Dolan, comedian and writer, kept the glitzy audience amused as master of ceremonies. Karen Smith, group marketing manager at Squire’s commented: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the award for Best Garden Centre! I was honoured to pick this award up on behalf of the whole team at Squire’s, who always work so hard and provide excellent customer service. We are so proud of all our centres, and we were up against some tough competition, which makes this win even more special.”

Haskins garden centre set to expand despite fears over green belt land


lans to refurbish a Haskins garden centre have been given the go-ahead despite fears over the effect on green belt land. An application was made for the Haskins Snowhill Plant and Garden Centre in Copthorne to demolish existing buildings, erect new buildings and enlarge the car park. An additional 100 car parking spaces are proposed in place of the existing dwelling at Oakleigh House


to the north, while plans for new access to the site from Newchapel Road were also submitted. “The new centre will offer customers a si nificantly improved shopping and dining experience with all products and facilities contained within one building,” said a spokesman for Haskins. “In addition to wider aisles and improved circulation within the centre, the new product ranges will be better displayed

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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due to better lighting and an extended ceiling. “The proposed development will provide more covered space for our customers and a larger restaurant. The plant department will be reorientated to the south which will be better for our plants and customers.” Tandridge District Council planners, in a statement submitted with the application, said: “The site is located in the Metropolitan Green

Belt, where inappropriate development, which is by definition harmful, is unacceptable unless it is ustified by very special circumstances.”

15/11/2017 08:47


aul illia appointed tewart’s Garden Centres anager


fter a retail career that has taken Paul Hilliam across the UK after starting with the Great Mills chain and various locations with the Dobbies Garden Centre Group, Paul has returned to his hometown having been appointed centre manager of one of the UK’s longest established garden centres in Christchurch. Martin Stewart, managing director of the Dorset based Stewart’s Garden Centres, says that he is delighted that Paul has joined the team and will play an important role with the company that can trace its origin back to . ince openin the country s first arden centre in October 1955, the business has expanded exponentially.

“Last year we announced a multimillion-pound refurbishment and rebuild for our country centre at Broomhill Wimborne Garden Centre and Nurseries, and acquired the bbey arden entre in itchfield, Hampshire. Adding Paul’s experience and enthusiasm to the management team will enable us to focus on the new development and the continued enhancement of the Abbey centre,” said Martin Stewart. The award-winning Christchurch centre was officially opened ctober and has seen major improvements and investment over recent years, including a restaurant-sized coffee shop. Paul relishes the opportunity to work within such a horticulturally rooted business, saying that there are few garden centre groups that continue to operate nurseries and have a diverse selection of services for both home owners and commerce within the region. www stewarts co uk

lans lodged for new coffee shop and events area at erdeen garden centre


n Aberdeen garden centre is hoping to bloom with plans to expand. The proposals for Ben Reid Nursery and Garden Centre in Aberdeen would see a new coffee shop and outdoor event area installed. The independent company has been running a garden centre at Countesswells Road since 1985, but has operated at the site for 250 years. The plans have been lodged so the firm can continue to compete with larger retailers.

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Pleydell Smithyman Ltd has put forward the proposed development on behalf of the garden centre. It is claimed the addition of a coffee shop could increase turnover by 25% and a new events room will have talks and demonstrations. Planning documents lodged with Aberdeen City Council said: “It is proposed to add an extension to the main garden buildings, wrapping around the existing customer toilets in order to provide a customer coffee shop. This will include kitchen, server and customer seating areas, as well as an events room. The events room will be available for prebooked garden centre events such as horticultural talks or crafts demonstrations. “Our clients have recognised that coffee shops are an integral part of today’s garden centres and customers expect

to find such a facility when they visit. Outdoor coffee shop seating will be provided within a courtyard which will be created by the addition of an extension to the garden centre shop.” The current shopping area at the premises will also be extended if the scheme is given approval, while a new entrance will be created. There are currently two storage areas on the site and the plans would see one of these turned into offices and a new specialist retail building created. Part of the land on the site will also be used to keep animals. The report said: “It is proposed to add an informal events/ animal area on the nurseryland situated to the south east, which will be for keeping animals for the enjoyment of the visitors to the site.” www eveningexpress co uk

January Furniture Show – Get the first look


ith many of the big players in decorative accessories, giftware and small furniture items launching their new collections right at the start of the year, the January Furniture Show is the place to go and get a headstart on what’s new. The January Furniture Show returns for a fourth year in its new format to the NEC in Birmingham, and will feature over 500 UK and international exhibitors showing all kinds of furniture and interiors. Running from 21-24 January, the show offers garden centre retail buyers not only a great opportunity to buy from well-known and established brands, but also the chance to select products from alternative and new brands which don’t attend other shows. Featuring a hall dedicated to all things accessories and giftware – including mirrors, lamps, artwork, cushions, throws and decorative glassware and kitchenware, buyers can also see new conservatory and outdoor furniture on display from major suppliers, along with outdoor lamps and accessories. Planning for the 2018 show is already in full swing with big brands including Libra, Gallery irect, acific ifestyle, ar Lighting, Kelston House, India Jane, Mindy Brownes, CIMC, Premier Housewares and Art arketin already confirmed to attend and show new launches for 2018. www.januaryfurniture show co

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


15/11/2017 08:48

News Extra



The garden industry came together on 4 October for HTA Garden Futures Conference, sponsored by Hozelock, which took place at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire. This year’s strategic event, with the theme of ‘Garden retail – The great escape’, was hosted by Cathy Newman, journalist and presenter of Channel 4 News

Rachel Lund from the British Retail Consortium started the day off by looking at how the current political environment and exchange rates are impacting conditions in retail. While the future is looking good for garden retail, she warned that we need to be prepared for a tough few months ahead and that retailers can’t afford to ignore technology, which is growing as a real driver for consumer spending. Josh McBain from Foresight Factory spoke about how we are approaching an ‘ageless society’, with older age groups now spending the most over the week and spending si nificantly on recreation and culture. He spoke about the ‘leisure upgrade’ being one of the most important

retail experiences, in terms of engaging with both younger and older consumer audiences. Jack Stratten from Insider Trends took a look at the ways in which technology is being used in retail. Virtual reality and self-checkouts let consumers take control, giving retailers the chance to focus more on customer service; the future of retail looks increasin ly sci fi, with robot delivery becoming a reality. rofessor listair riffiths from the RHS presented some shocking statistics: three quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates, and one in four adults experience mental health problems. He went on to talk about how engaging with horticulture is a proven way to help relieve the symptoms of

While the future is looking good for garden retail, we need to be prepared for a tough few months ahead Rachel Lund, British Retail Consortium


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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mental health issues, and how gardening can foster social interaction and promote a sense of community. Ethnobotanist and presenter James Wong followed, with ‘Gardening – Why bother?’, a talk that aimed to make the audience think about additional reasons for gardening, beyond workrelated tasks such as mowing and raking. Kate Ebbens from Cadix, part of CAPI Europe, demonstrated how sustainability and technology are key to the future of business. Cadix is currently using a mix and match pot and plant app that enables consumers to select their favourite combinations and even visualise the results in their own home; the company also uses future trend information to shape its range. The Retail Lab @ Garden Futures panel session looked at the findin s from its feature at Glee earlier this year. Merchandising staff from Hillview Garden Centre learned a huge amount from taking part and recreated displays on their return, which resulted in increased September sales. There was agreement that the initiative helped businesses to work together to achieve a shared end goal. With the issue of Xylella fastidiosa a hot topic across the industry, the panel session covered many of the key aspects related to this

You shouldn’t be a retailer if you're not an optimist Nicholas Marshall, Dobbies

bacterial disease, with Dan Munro from APHA providing an overview of the evolution of the situation. While lobbying continues to push the government to do more, there was a consensus that individual businesses should not wait for this, and should take responsibility for their own actions. n the final session of the day, conference host Cathy Newman interviewed Dobbies CEO Nicholas Marshall on topics such as Brexit, the economy and use of technology. Nicholas felt that Brexit could present a huge opportunity for the garden industry in terms of promoting UK-grown plants – an area that Dobbies is currently focusing on. His parting message was that you shouldn’t be a retailer if you are not an optimist. Finishing the day, HTA president Adam Taylor announced plans for a new joint conference in 2018, to be hosted in partnership with GIMA. Further details will be available in due course. ◗


13/11/2017 16:39

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07/11/2017 07/11/2017 15:27 14:06

David Yardley The Interview

DAVID YARDLEY The Klondyke Group

Garden Centre Retail speaks with Klondyke Group chief executive David Yardley to find out more about the business behind the £63.5m garden centre group, how they combat the seasonality of the industry and the diversification of the sector since Klondyke’s inception

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How did you get into the industry? I worked for my aunt and uncle, Bob and Dorothy Gault, in their garden centre while at school and university. After graduating from Glasgow University with a degree in Botany, I joined The Klondyke Group full time just as the second garden centre opened in Stirling in 1984.

How many garden centres do you now control? We currently have 22. Five in Scotland, 15 in England and two in Wales. It’s all north of Birmingham.

Can you outline your career in the sector? I joined as a trainee manager at the Stirling Garden Centre and was then offered the manager’s position of the Livingston Garden Centre, which was acquired in 1985. I moved to Edinburgh in 1987 when we bought Mortonhall, to manage and develop this centre into the company’s fla ship centre at the time. In 1989 I took up the position of plant buyer and moved to the recently developed centre in Polmont, where the head office was also located. I became a director in 1994 and as well as carrying on in the plant buying role, I had an operation role in developing acquisitions such as Lambton Park in 1994, Strikes in 1996 and other stores since. I continued as a director looking after operations, purchasing and developments and was appointed CEO in January 2017 when Bob Hewitt retired to take on the role of chairman.

What’s the strongest section for you in terms of turnover? We’ve grown our restaurant business, but our slogan is that we are every gardener’s garden centre, so we try to do everything generally for the gardener. I wouldn’t say we focus on any area. We’re not trying to be the cheapest, we’re not down at the bottom end or the discount end, but we also try to be value for money and give a good service with excellent quality products. Plants are still very important to us. Our biggest turnover area is still gardening, if you include plants and gardening products, but the restaurant area is getting close.

What’s the turnover? he turnover for this financial year, which for us was the end of September, was just over £63.5m.

Is it seasonal? Gardening is seasonal, but the restaurant trading has levelled it out. There are still peaks and troughs in this part of the business – peak footfall in the restaurant tends to be in December, around Mother’s Day and Easter time. Gardening products tend to peak in April and May. è

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 16:20

The Interview David Yardley

Who is the typical client for Klondyke? Like every other garden centre, our average customer is 55, female, probably retired or semi-retired or doesn’t work. They go out for lunch on a regular basis. How important are mothers and children to the business? Do you cater for those? In our new restaurants, very much so. We created a new children’s menu last year and we do focus on having facilities that suit mothers and babies. Do any of your garden centres have play areas? No, we’ve actively avoided that. We’ve got some outdoor play areas, but indoor play areas, from our experience and looking at what other people have done, tend to be noisy and the customers stay for longer and don’t spend a lot. How active a member is Klondyke in the GCA? We do a lot with the GCA now. From next year, all our garden centres will be members of

the GCA. We don’t necessarily agree with everything that they promote or put forward, but we think it’s an effective way of measuring ourselves against the rest of the industry and essentially measuring our branches against each other. If you have a high score on the GCA audit sheet, then the customer should enjoy the experience of shopping in your garden centre. What about the HTA? We go to many of the HTA conferences. The catering conference is a good event to go to, we usually attend the marketing conference and I was at the garden futures conference recently. I think the HTA brings some relevant things to the gardening trade. The vouchers are a key reason why most garden centres are a member of the HTA, but we do get a lot of valid information, particularly now with disease information. Do you run a loyalty scheme? For the past 15 years we’ve had a gardening club, but it

We’re trying to make the business better. We’re much more professional; our facilities are completely different from what they were 10 years ago


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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wasn’t until we introduced our EPoS system three years ago that it started working properly. We didn’t have a way of monitoring how often those customers visited, what they bought or anything about them. Earlier this year we changed the scheme over to run with our EPoS system, so it’s now an electronic card. It’s a paid-for scheme; the customer pays £10 annually to join and they get two free teas or coffee every month, and the equivalent of 5% loyalty points, so they et five points for every £1 spent. They get loaded onto the electronic card and they can spend those points at any time. What has the EPoS system changed for you since the introduction? We had always run a till system which communicated with head office, and we were very strict with controlling stock and monitoring things, but now we’ve got great detail into what is and isn’t selling, and that has become more relevant in making sure you’ve got the right product at the right time. What’s the structure behind your uying? Do you find there are different trends in the different areas you have garden centres? Obviously there is a difference in seasonality – the seasons are a bit later the further north

you travel. We also cover east coast to west coast so certain products we sell depend on soil conditions, but in general, we stock about 95% the same products in every garden centre. With some products, we do tend to focus on where they sell better. For a lot of the stock, the purchasing is all controlled in head office, but a lot of the day to day purchasing is still done at branch level. What sort of thing would be ought y head office? They control the range of products we sell, which suppliers we use, what price we are paying and what price we retail at. They might also do an initial allocation for deliveries, but then the centres will either control the top up, place reorders or request new products. What’s the management structure? I’m the chief executive of the group. We’re quite a small team, we have a finance director and a retail operations director. We then have a purchasing manager and a catering manager, and these are all at head office. n the field we have two re ional managers, one covering the north west and the other the north east. That’s it, apart from the different buyers. We have a head of purchasing and various category buyers for the product range. Then come the store

13/11/2017 16:20

David Yardley The Interview

managers, plant managers and assistant managers at branch level. What percentage of your staff is seasonal or part time? It varies a lot more now than it used to. I can’t put an exact fi ure on this, but probably more than half of our staff are part time. We’ve started takin people on more fle ible hours. We’re not on zero hours contracts; we would guarantee staff 30 hours a week, but not necessarily uarantee them which days they are oin to be. It gives people a degree of fle ibility. Do you feel that, in the off season, without the restaurant you would struggle? e would obviously still be trading without the restaurant, but it is a big footfall drive for us. We tend to do a promotional push for the restaurant in anuary and ebruary, which would be a tea and cake offer or a multibuy on lunches, so there is some kind of offer to drive the customers to the shops in those quieter months. What do you think of the diversification of the industry? orty years a o, arden centres sold plants and gardening equipment, now they are toy shops, clothin stores and more. We have

Let'sHearItFromNov.indd 15

some concessions, but enerally, most products are sold by ourselves. e do sell a bit of clothin . any years ago we had a craft concession which ceased trading, and we then made the decision to take over the stock and start selling it ourselves. Craft is one of the ranges of products that we sell, and it isn t affected by seasonality, it s steady year round. t brin s in a respectable number of customers too. Do you have an acceptance of giving up oor space to concessions? e have some. enerally, it’s to cover product ranges that we don’t feel like we’re experts in. In most cases that’s things like garden buildings, conservatories, hot tubs and aquatics. Where do you see Klondyke developing over the next 10 years? n the ne t five years we ve got three main projects. We’re currently refurbishin our Edinburgh store which is going to be three times its current si e. t was a very small store, and it’s going from just over 11,000ft 2 to around 34,000ft 2, which still isn’t a big garden centre. We have planning consent to refurbish our head office store in alkirk and that will follow on after Edinburgh. We’re also just about to put a planning application in for our

store in Northwich, again to make it about two and a half times its current size with a big new restaurant. How has the redevelopment of your centre restaurants affected the business? e have invested very heavily in our catering offer and this is now 25% of our turnover overall. This has not been at the expense of core sales as we have still grown. The turnover of the business has more than doubled in the last years throu h investment and acquisitions, much of which has been the increase in sales from restaurants. What does the ideal acquisition proposal look like? It would be no smaller than a 5 acre site and a turnover of around about £2m. It would have to be a good, solid horticultural based business that had room to expand. When it comes to recruitment, do you look for people with a retail background or a horticulture background? It depends on which part of the business they are oin to be workin in. f they are working with plants or in the ardenin areas, then ideally, we would look for horticultural experience or training. But we do want people with a retail discipline as well.

What sort of training do your branch staff get? We’re just about to sign up to the GCA Grow training modules and we’re going to introduce that next spring. ut a lot of that is product led and some of it is quite specialist. It’s things people need to know and a lot of that is changing. What’s your next step for the business? I want to keep growing. We’re tryin to make the business better. We’re much more professional; our facilities are completely different from what they were ten years ago. I would still like to grow the business and have more centres over the ne t ten years. Have you set yourself any targets? ot really, no. hatever happens, happens. We’ve shown rowth every year for the past years and lookin back over the last years we’ve doubled the turnover of the business. I’d like to think that in the next 11 years we could double it again, but if that doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world as long as we remain profitable and viable. ◗


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 16:21

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Grown in Suttons' UK nursery



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16/01/2017 11:57

Grown in Suttons' UK nursery

Grown in Suttons' UK nursery

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Reliably crop in the pot they are supplied in if watered and

Suttons are working on vegetable nutrition trials in partnership with the

Grow in a cool greenhouse or a sunny, sheltered spot outdoors. Plant in their final positions late April-May in the greenhouse (some heat may be necessary initially) or late May-June outside (when danger of frost has passed). Use a deep 30cm (12") pot, or plant directly into the soil (note that most grow bags are unlikely to provide the root space required for best results), 60cm (2') apart. Support plants with canes. Ensure that the graft ‘union’ is above soil level. Prevent plants drying out with moderate, regular watering. Once fruits start to appear, a tomato fertiliser should be applied twice a week. Small side shoots should be ‘pinched out’ when they are about 2.5cm (1") in length. As the fruits ripen, pick as required. Lycostandard 3221 is a vigorous-growing tomato variety producing large trusses of shiny red/striped gold, sweet and tasty fruit of medium size. Ideal for salads or cooking. This grafted plant is an F1 hybrid variety, specially bred for increased vigour and improved performance • Productive then grafted with a fruity to provide up to 75% more fruit! (based on Suttons' trials). habanero flavour

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Spring Plant Range 2018

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As seed purveyors since 1806 we have all the gardener’s favourite seeds. What you may not be aware of is that we also supply an innovative and quality range of plants and garden equipment. For our Spring 2018 Catalogue please contact us by . . .

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07/11/2017 10:52 08:41 30/10/2017

Christmas Staff HR




hen t o es to sta fin o e the est e e od, t s u a to an e ahead and ensu e a e o ees a e t eated a , sa s e s Gemma Murphy

ith the Christmas season approaching, you will be beginning to prepare yourself for staffin the busy festive period. As every garden centre knows, Christmas is not just for December, and is one of the busiest periods of the year. It is vital to focus on the diversity of your Christmas staff, to ensure your workplace is balanced and fully functioning over the peak season. In preparation for Christmas, you may be considering different approaches for covering additional festive work, with options ranging from overtime for existing staff to seasonal workers or agency staff. Whatever you opt for, it’s important that everyone feels involved in the workplace. Ultimately, this will provide a better festive feeling for all your customers and staff – after all, you don’t want Santa going AWOL because he’s not getting the same breaks as the permanent members of staff. The lead-up to Christmas is a stressful time for everyone, with the pressures to buy presents, preparations and family politics to contend with. If you require staff to do more overtime, be conscious of how much you stretch them and whether they are findin the hours manageable. It is important that rotas are

HR_GemmaMurphy.indd 17

managed carefully, and that you try to spread the load evenly across your staff. Don’t forget to think about managing holiday entitlements and scheduling holiday fairly, too. If you engage agency or temporary staff throughout the Christmas season, you must make sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally. One starting point is to ensure everyone is invited to the Christmas party and gets the same entitlement to breaks. When engaging agency staff, you must bear in mind that they have the same rights as permanent colleagues to use any shared facilities and services provided by you – for example, access to the staff room, canteen, car parking or transport services. In addition, after 12 weeks in the job, agency workers qualify for the same rights as a direct employee; this includes ‘equal pay’ (the same pay as an employed person doing the same job), automatic pension enrolment and paid annual leave. The rules surrounding Agency Workers Regulations can be complicated, so if you need any help to navigate your way around them, get in touch with an HR consultancy. When recruiting additional staff for the festive period, it is important to bear in mind that not everyone

If you engage agency or temporary staff to support you throughout the Christmas season, you must make sure that everyone is treated fairly and equally celebrates Christmas. This doesn’t stop those who do not celebrate Christmas from being excellent recruits for the season, but you do need to consider everyone’s beliefs and be respectful of everyone’s faith. Don’t presume someone will be happy to cover Christmas Eve or Boxing Day just because they don’t celebrate Christmas – the same opportunities

and considerations should be offered to everyone, regardless of their beliefs. hile we find that contracts sometimes don’t take priority in the Christmas dash, do make sure you have suitable contracts in place for those you are employing, to make sure the parameters of their work engagement are clear – for instance, zero hour contracts or fi ed term employment contracts. You may also need to look at your contract with the agency that is supplying agency staff. ◗ CONTACT

View HR is a HR and employment law consultancy, providing businesses with specialist guidance and independent support. 07496 308 540

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 16:11

Features Adding Value

Adding value over


As the peak season approaches, Modern Retail director Rob Gamage gives tips on how garden centres can maximise sales and footfall over the festive period


hristmas is a critical season for all retailers, with UK consumers spending a total of £77bn over last year’s festive period. Over the next month, customers will be actively looking to spend money in fulfillin their social obligation to purchase gifts for friends, family and colleagues – so it is vital for garden centres to take advantage of this in every way possible, and ensure they are providing what shoppers are looking for. Marketing efforts are particularly important in the run-up to Christmas, as there is little point in hosting festive events or running special offers if your customers aren’t aware of them. It is imperative for garden centres


to maximise their marketing in November and December to ensure customers know well in advance what will be going on at the centre, and can thus make plans to visit. If you have access to a customer database, make sure you email and direct mail your customers with any special offers or upcoming Christmas event details to draw them into the centre. Social media is more important than ever in the modern age; in the lead-up to Christmas, garden centres can engage customers online by increasing their presence on visual channels such as Pinterest and Instagram. Customers will be looking for inspirational gift ideas online and via social media,

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

AddingValue.indd 18

so try to bear this in mind when publishing posts and pictures. More traditional marketing methods, such as signs outside the centre and local advertisements, can also be useful when it comes to drawing in customers. The overarching theme for garden centres at Christmas is to provide a great in-store experience for your customers. Visitors will be looking to treat themselves, their families and their friends over the festive season, which creates a variety of opportunities for garden centres to maximise footfall and sales. Providing free food and drink, such as mulled wine and mince pies, is a great way to get your customers into the

Recommendations from staff are invaluable over this period, so it’s vital that your staff are knowledgeable about all of your products

13/11/2017 15:37

Adding Value Features

There will always be consumers who leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute, so try to cater to that market by providing as quick, easy and seamless a shopping experience as possible

Christmas spirit, adding to their shopping experience and encouraging return visits. A particular benefit of hot mulled wine is that it will increase your customers’ dwell time within the centre – it takes a while to cool down, which will mean visitors are spending longer looking around the store than they may have done otherwise. Inviting a local choir or carol group into the centre is another way to inject a bit of festive spirit into your customers’ shopping experience, and to become more of a destination over hristmas. hoir roups often collect money for a local charity or cause, which can elevate a centre’s standing in its surrounding community and

AddingValue.indd 19

foster a feelin of oodwill among visitors. Festive performances also create a new reason for people to visit the centre, particularly if they are friends or relatives of choir members or carol singers. How-to classes, such as wreath making or tree decorating, can attract and en a e a different customer base into the centre, simultaneously increasing sales of the products that are used in the classes (e.g. Christmas tree decorations). ift wrappin service can also be a great addition to a garden centre over Christmas; it adds enuine value for your customers, many of whom will be shoppin for presents. f e ecuted correctly, a ift

wrapping service will mean that shoppers come away from the centre feelin that they ve saved themselves time and had a load taken off their mind, as they ve made a reat ift purchase that is instantly ready to be given to the recipient. astin samples of food and drink products can also be used around Christmas to create a festive atmosphere in store, which will improve your customers’ experience and maximises sale opportunities of the selected products. Tasters can tempt shoppers into purchasing products that they may not have otherwise bou ht, particularly if the products are arranged in an attractive way and are appropriate to be given as ifts. he most effective way to get sales is to combine special offers on food and drink products with free samples – particularly when it comes to more premium products, such as gin. hristmas is a reat time for upselling – recommendations from staff are invaluable over this period, so it’s vital that your staff are knowled eable about all of the products. lot of visitors will be comin to the centre with a general ift idea in mind, but may need to ask staff whether the centre stocks anything along those lines. Creativity and a helpful attitude can make all the difference in capturin these sales.

fferin product bundles such as hampers is also very profitable over hristmas – combining your smaller products into one range or offerin a mi and match service can make a ift seem more personalised, encouraging add-on sales and the opportunity to upsell on premium products. Garden centres should also carefully consider the way they group products together over Christmas, to show that they cater to the needs of different shoppers for e ample, ifts for her , or ifts for the tech-lover’. Very rarely will a customer come into a arden centre for a ift with a specific product in mind, so making it easier and quicker to locate the perfect present will increase turnover and encourage repeat visits. Christmas is also a great time to introduce extra services that will maximise your customers’ convenience, such as click and collect, or advance ordering online or over the phone. There will always be consumers who leave their Christmas shopping to the last minute, so try to cater to that market by providing as quick, easy and seamless a shopping experience as possible. ◗


Modern Retail 0207 183 9560

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 15:38

Features Loyalty Schemes



GCR spoke to executive chairman of Corby + Fellas, Chris Corby, and commercial manager of Appetite Me, Alex Mappledoram, about the benefits and considerations of implementing a loyalty scheme – including recent changes in legislation that will affect all current and future schemes


oyalty schemes can boost turnover by increasing the rate of return visits from customers, as well as encouraging higher footfall during otherwise quiet trading periods – for example, by introducing a special discount that applies on a certain day or time. They can also be a fantastic branding exercise, as Alex tells us. “A customer who has a loyalty card in their wallet or a tag that goes onto their keyring will see that card or tag often, which will keep the garden centre in their mind. Joining a loyalty scheme can also make a customer feel involved, particularly if the scheme offers exclusive deals or offers for its members.”

Chris agrees. “Increasing brand loyalty is a key benefit of implementing a scheme,” he says. “Milbrook Garden Centres, for example, refers to its scheme as ‘the Milbrook family’, which immediately engenders the idea that its members are part of something – rather than membership being a cynical ploy by the company to get something out of customers. Garden centres should think carefully about the name of their loyalty scheme, and how they want it to be perceived.” More sophisticated and modern loyalty schemes are able to target customers based on their previous purchases, or even on the type of garden

they have, if this information is collected at the point of joining. This can be extremely useful. Customers with half an acre of land will have different needs and interests to those that live in flats; each will require different incentives to visit. Schemes can also be used to monitor the return rate of members. “If there is a gap of a year or more between visits, you’re not making your business valuable enough for your customers,” says Chris. “Centres should consider sending out incentives to encourage customers to visit if they haven’t done so for a while – something like a discount or a free coffee.”


The cost of setting up the scheme should be examined carefully and weighed up against its potential benefits, and staff need to be trained in using the system


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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Garden centres that are considering implementing a loyalty scheme must first consider whether this is feasible and compatible with their EPoS system, advises Alex. “Points-based systems may be built into the software,

or can be added to it, which will enable a loyalty scheme,” he tells us. “Garden centres should also think critically about how their business can actively take advantage of the data it will glean from the loyalty scheme – this can be a useful tool if used correctly, but it requires time and effort, otherwise the scheme is pointless. The cost of setting up the scheme should be examined carefully and weighed up against its potential benefits, and staff need to be trained in using the system.” It should also be kept in mind that loyalty schemes can be quite admin-heavy, Alex warns, and, depending on the type of scheme, the setting-up process can vary in difficulty. “Appetite Me has analysed loyalty schemes in some of its managed stores, and we found that many members don’t actually know how the scheme works,” he says. “Only 15% of loyalty members had a clear understanding of the scheme,

15/11/2017 08:36

Loyalty Schemes Features

or the benefits of oinin it. akin your loyalty scheme as simple as possible is therefore e tremely important a comple system, or benefits that aren t clear to your customer, could mean that people don t si n up. arden centres must also determine whether their scheme will involve a cost to members or not, says hris. here are two types of loyalty scheme those where you pay to be a member, and those where membership is free. londyke and otcutts, for e ample, have implemented schemes that their customers pay to be a part of, includin benefits such as two free coffees a month but the vast ma ority of arden centre loyalty schemes are free. n terms of loyalty cards, arden centres have several options available to them. everal retailers, such as oots, have started usin chip cards, but these are relatively e pensive at around p per card, says hris.

Loyalty Schemes.indd 21

his won t be practical for smaller or anisations. he yster type cards with ear ield echnolo y are relatively new on the scene, and are popular because they allow for faster, contactless transactions. ohn ewis has an app that can be downloaded onto a smartphone, so that customers can use it in lieu of a card if they wish; this could be particularly popular amon the youn er eneration of shoppers. ne day, cards could feasibly be scrapped alto ether in favour of facial reco nition or fin erprint technolo ies, which are already startin to break into mainstream use.

Legislation changes

ustomers si nin up for a loyalty scheme are re uired to submit certain contact details, such as address and email, which can be e tremely useful for a arden centre s marketin reach. owever, new le islation comin into effect in ay will affect

Garden centres should think carefully about the name of their loyalty scheme, and how they want it to be perceived the way in which arden centres are able to use this information, warns hris. he eneral ata rotection e ulations have recently chan ed, with new rules statin that customers have to be told precisely why their contact information is bein taken and how that data will be used; consent will also need to be iven for any use, he says. here is no lon er any assumed consent for contact information to be used for marketin , and customers are entitled to view any information that a business holds on them. hat s oin to affect all new and e istin

loyalty schemes, and it s somethin that arden centres need to be aware of consent will need to be ained from all current loyalty scheme holders for their information to continue to be used in any marketin strate y.

Spread the word

he marketin for a new loyalty scheme should feature on your website and social media, and should include a uick si n up option for customers. he most effective marketin , however, will always be in store when your customers reach the tills, they should be asked by staff if they have heard about the scheme, and be offered the chance to si n up. he faster and easier you make it for your customers to si n up, the more likely they are to do so. â——


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


15/11/2017 08:36

GCR ads NovDec.indd 6

13/11/2017 15:31

New Year Catering

New menu NEW YEAR,

Once the festive season is out of the way, in moves January, and a comparatively slower trading period. It’s a tough time of year for any garden centre, but GCR has analysed the predicted food trends for 2018 and gathered ideas to help you offer a fantastic catering operation in the new year


anuary is a challenging time of year for any garden centre, and as a result it is more important than ever to keep your regular visitors in mind when creating menus and looking to attract new customer groups. Remember that your customers will be looking for bargains in every area of their shopping experience during this period, and are more likely to be watchful of calories

CateringNov.indd 23

following the traditional Christmas excesses. Many may also be partaking in ‘Dry January’, halting their alcohol intake as a way of improving their health and wellbeing at the start of the year. Public awareness of health and wellbeing is heightened in January, with popular resolutions including giving up alcohol, stopping smoking and joining the gym, which can be used as an opportunity for

garden centres to engage with customers and cater to these needs. When considering your new January menu, it is also worth keeping in mind that there has been a 350% increase in people opting for vegan and plant-based diets over the past 10 years. Garden centres are in a great position to differentiate themselves by creating a vegan menu within their catering operation.

Managing the slower trading period January is always going to be a challenging time of year for the garden centre industry; it is therefore essential to create enticing reasons for your customers to visit over this period. Methods such as product

promotions, demonstrations, unique products and offers, competitions and increasing the centre’s social media presence will all help to create a destination venue within your centre. It is also hugely important to ensure that the gross profit mar ins in your caf or restaurant are controlled over the low season. This can be difficult if the centre is introducing a January menu that is full of new products and dishes. Adopting different preservation techniques, such as the use of sous-vide or blast freezing, will help extend the life of your products without losing their nutritional value or flavour. onsider cookin more of your dishes – or elements of them – to order, and offering è table service throughout

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 15:39

Catering New Year January. Foods that stay out on counters for long periods of time are unlikely to remain appealing, as they become dry and unattractive over time, so think about whether changing up your production line will give a better quality of product. It may also be worth running a table reservation option over the quieter months, which will help your catering team to gauge when peak levels are likely to be, and allows for better planning of labour requirements. Keep your ingredient palette as tight as possible in January, and make the ingredients you do have stretch across several dishes. Also, be aware of the need to check the dates on food products more carefully – this is a time of year when suppliers will often move short-life products on. It is better to reduce your menu range (while still maintaining the quality of your dishes) in tandem with offering added value services, such as table service – this will compensate for your more limited offering. It is crucial for a garden centre to minimise losses within its catering operation wherever possible over the


quieter trading period, as this will help with cash flow and increase the annual profit prospects of the centre. On this note, when looking at implementing special offers in your café or restaurant, be careful to calculate both the ross profit and the labour costs involved. If you are lowering the gross profit on a labour intensive dish, you may find yourself selling the product at a loss. Finally, January is a great time to negotiate heavily with your suppliers – the food commodity market is incredibly volatile at the time of writing, which is likely to continue into early 2018. Check your pricing agreements and make sure these have not moved substantially.

Capitalising on upcoming trends

The chilli is set for a revival in 2018, which is a great opportunity for garden centres – not only in their catering operation, but also in promoting chilli seed and plant sales. Healthy food trends will continue to dominate next year, and January is a fantastic time for garden centres to

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

CateringNov.indd 24

demonstrate an engagement with this. Raw foods that haven’t had their nutrients eroded in the cooking process are also going to pick up speed over 2018, and protein drinks are set to leave the gym and hit the mainstream. Food that promotes good gut bacteria, such as probiotic yogurts, will be back on trend in the coming months, and vegan food will continue to dominate eating trends, with an increase in tofu and plantbased eating. Expect a focus on root-to-leaf trends – dishes or products that use the whole plant, such as a carrot with its top used to create a pesto. Chaga mushrooms are being hailed as the latest superfood, while herbs and spices that improve wellbeing such as saffron, sage, rosemary and turmeric will also continue to make their presence felt. In spring 2018, Korean food is anticipated to enter mainstream restaurants and catering facilities. Alcohol-free ‘mocktails’ and zero-alcohol beer and wines will also be on the rise. Capitalising on these trends will provide an interesting PR opportunity for garden

Methods such as product promotions, demonstrations, unique products and offers, competitions and increasing the centre’s social media presence will all help to create a destination venue within your centre

13/11/2017 15:40

New Year Catering centres across January. Think about promoting your new menu to health-orientated organisations that are looking for a ‘stop venue’ to bring a new type of customer base into the centre – for example cycling groups, runners, local gyms and weight loss groups. Centres could also consider holding an early chilli festival, as January is a great time to start sowing chilli seeds. Offering a series of elegant and appetising dishes that are under 400 calories will always be popular in the months after Christmas, as will raw food cookery demonstrations and tastings – for example by a sushi specialist. Look into launching a health drink menu and developing a vegan and superfood menu, to showcase the best in root-to-leaf trends and plant-based eating your centre has to offer. Crucially, whatever your approach to creating a tasty, healthy January menu, don’t forget to train your staff. There is little point in introducing a fantastic wellbeing culture in your café or restaurant if your staff don’t understand the nutritional context of it, and aren’t able to pass this on to customers.

CateringNov.indd 25

A focus on health and wellbeing

There is a growing popularity in the corporate workplace for wellness programmes. Companies are increasingly recognising that good health in their employees benefits the organisation, keeping it current, competitive and fit. his corporate approach has in turn had an impact on wellbeing in family life, as employees are taking these values back into their home environments. The over-60s are also much more concerned with wellbeing than previous generations, as they are continuously targeted and educated by the NHS and various other fitness organisations. It is increasingly at the forefront of their minds, and they are a key demographic for garden centres to target with their catering. Childhood obesity in the UK is an issue that has been focused on heavily in the past few years, which has opened a lot of parents’ eyes to what they are feeding their children, and to the need for healthier food. A great, nutritious kids’ menu within a

garden centre will capture the attention of visiting families, as well as separating your business from competitors. One factor that is starting to have a heavy impact on wellbeing motivation among the general population is technology. Gadgets such as the Fitbit allow individuals to look at their whole lifestyle in terms of wellness, from sleep patterns and exercise to sugar and water intake. This all contributes a great deal to consumer awareness. Healthy living is now being seen as less of an instruction from your doctor following a major illness, and more of a means to gain a better quality

of life. Consumer concerns about over-processed products are also on the rise – people want to know the provenance of what they are eating, how it’s been prepared and whether it’s been cooked in a natural way. The public are growing ever more suspicious of additives, stabilisers and unknown or mysterious chemicals being added to their food. With this in mind, garden centres should focus their January menu on health and wellbeing; provide a menu with low-fat options, transparent product descriptions and plenty of nutritional information. ◗


Vegan chilli Garlic and portobello mushroom burgers with vegetarian Gruyère and salad Root vegetable, lentil and Greek yogurt soup with crispy leeks Quark lemon cheesecake Butternut squash pasta with basil pesto and fresh Parmesan Chicken madras and rice

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 15:40

Plant Focus Poinsettias




ounded in 1963, Woodlark Nurseries began growing outdoor cut chrysanthemums, vegetable crops and tomatoes after land nurseryman Ian Hopkins took over the 10 acres of land’s lease in Hersham. lant production diversified as the business expanded over the years, with 1984 markin the first hristmas the company cultivated poinsettias – a relatively new trade at the time for the UK garden market. Thirty years later, the nursery is renowned for its production of high quality poinsettias, establishing itself and its plants firmly in the hristmas trade market for surrounding garden centres. The life cycle of poinsettias Before reaching the shelves of garden centres, each poinsettia in the UK will have travelled thousands of miles, explains Graeme. “Poinsettias


have an amazing life cycle. The mother stock of the plant is grown and kept in Kenya and Ethiopia, as the high light levels in North Africa encourage quick and consistent rowth. uttin s from the mother stock are then flown to the poinsettia breeding headquarters in Germany and Holland, where they are rooted in compost. fter four or five weeks, the rooted cuttings will have rown sufficiently to be sent to UK nurseries like ours. We pot them as soon as they reach us, and grow them from there until they are ready to be sent to our stockists.” The arrival date of the plants depends on the desired size, with larger plants sent weeks ahead of the smaller varieties to ensure they have sufficient rowth time within a

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

Plant Focus.indd 26

Graeme Edwards, chief grower at Woodlark Nurseries, explains the extensive journey of poinsettias from North Africa to UK shelves, and reveals his top tips for garden centres selecting poinsettia growers

nursery. ur first poinsettias of the year, the bigger plants, reach us on week 28, around the third week of July,” says Graeme. “We get the smaller sizes arriving on week 30, 32 and 34.” On the 10th day after they have arrived on site, each poinsettia is ‘pinched’ – a process that involves taking off the top of the plant, causing it to grow outwards and have more shape. With its poinsettia stock hitting 50,000

plants each year, the pinching process is a time consuming job for the Woodlark team, as is the continual ‘spacing’ of each plant as it grows at the nursery, which prevents it from becoming too tall. As the days get shorter, poinsettias start to grow into their trademark red colours, typically when there gets to be 14 hours of darkness. For centres looking to stock the plants earlier, Graeme and his team have a solution: “We place a black cloth over some of our poinsettias to

15/11/2017 09:24

Poinsettias Plant Focus

It’s imperative that, once the plants have left the nursery and reach garden centre shelves, they are kept in environments above 16ºC, away from any draughts, doors or windows encourage them to turn red a bit sooner than they would naturally, which means garden centres can have them on the shelves looking great in early November.” Keeping and growing poinsettias Originally from Mexico, poinsettias are among the more difficult plants to cultivate in the UK, due to their need for high humidity and warm environments, says Graeme. “It’s far easier to grow plants that are naturally adapted to your surrounding climate. There is a need to artificially produce an atmosphere for poinsettias that is vastly different from what we get in the UK.” Another common issue for poinsettia growers in the UK is the plants’ weak root systems, with the plants tending to root poorly even in specialised, free draining poinsettia compost. “It’s imperative that, once the plants have left the nursery and reach garden centre shelves, they are kept in environments above 16ºC, away from any draughts, doors or windows,” says Graeme. “Sudden changes in temperature can have a si nificantly ne ative effect on poinsettias. Customers purchasing them should be informed by staff that the plants should be watered from below, and should not be overwatered.”

Plant Focus.indd 27

Trends and varieties The poinsettia variations that are available for garden centres in the UK are extensive, with more than 60 varieties of red poinsettia alone. The most popular species in UK supermarkets, nfinity ed , comes from a German breeder; it has seen huge success and has been on the market for several years. “One of our favourite poinsettia varieties, ‘Happy Day’, comes from another German supplier,” says Graeme. “Its poinsettias are vigorous, with larger bracts and thick, long stems, all of which are perfect for stocking in garden centres. Another hugely important factor for me as a grower is that the plants have a V-shaped habit. It’s vital for our business that poinsettia branches reach out in a V-shape rather than a U-shape, as this minimises breakages when putting the plants into sleeves and transporting them to garden centres.” Due to their festive connotations, red poinsettias have always been the bestsellers, says Graeme, though the nursery does try to test new species and different colours each year to provide their stockists with variety. “Poinsettias covered in glitter are becoming something of a trend,” Graeme tells us. “I know Marks and Spencer has stocked them in recent years. We investigated whether adding glitter had any è

POINSETTIA FACTS • A botanist named Joel Robert Poinsett introduced poinsettias to America from Mexico – the plant’s native country – in the 19th century. • A German immigrant in Los Angeles, Albert Ecke, was the fi st an to o e a se the ant, n the fi st de ade of the 20th century. His family has remained a key player in poinsettia breeding groups for three or four generations. • Stars for Europe found that German consumers buy poinsettias at a rate of 0.4-0.5 per person, whereas in the UK the rates are 0.1 per person – demonstrating the huge sales potential of the plants. • 12 December is National Poinsettia Day, promoted by Stars for Europe (SfE) – a marketing initiative founded by European poinsettia breeders and the British Protected Ornamental Association. • National Poinsettia Day is a great opportunity for garden centres to boost sales. Garden centres looking to get involved can contact Simon Davenport at the BPOA, or call their poinsettia supplier to discuss the available POS and marketing materials, which can be sent free of charge.

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


15/11/2017 09:24

Plant Focus Poinsettias

negative effect on the plants and found that it didn’t, and they can look really festive. We’ll be introducing a new species called ‘Autumn Leaves’ this year, which has a great orange colour and offers something a bit different from the classic red poinsettia. We have seen poinsettias being sold in America and France that were spray painted blue, but I don’t think that will catch on in the UK.” Speckled red and white poinsettia varieties are the second most popular on the market after red, with variants of pink and white also available from several breeders. More unique species, such as the orange ‘Cortez Fire’ or the marbled pink ‘Ice Crystal’, can only be bought through specific breeders. Trials and testing The poinsettia-growing community is very active, testing existing species annually to ensure they have satisfactory shelf lives and are able to withstand the necessary travel from mother stock to garden centre. Dutch growers, in particular, have a

vested interest in culminating new species that are able to endure the 24-hour journey to the UK, and continuously test new variations for this. UK poinsettia growers collectively trial the shelf life of various species each year on site, using simulated rooms from Christmas until January to see how they fare in a garden centre environment. Results are shared throughout the community; any variations that are found to have a substandard shelf life tend not to be grown again. “It’s important to keep testing our poinsettias, as varieties do break down over time,” explains Graeme. “The plants grow weaker as more cuttings are taken from them; I know that’s a problem many of the lar er rowers are findin with the popular nfinity species at the moment.” UK variety trials take place on the south coast, in the Midlands and in the North, each including every available species of poinsettia. On 12 November, the plants are sent to a university, where they are marked, before UK poinsettia growers visit the

The constant work of UK poinsettia growers to better our stock means that sto ers b in oinsettias i find t e are r asin entire different species every two years


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

Plant Focus.indd 28

university to observe and analyse how each species is doing. All UK growers meet up again after Christmas to observe the shelf life trial for poinsettias and evaluate which species are doing well and what should be grown again next year. “The constant work of UK poinsettia growers to better our stock means that customers buyin poinsettias will find they are purchasing entirely different species every two years,” says Graeme. “It’s important we keep improving our poinsettias – for ourselves, our stockists and the customers.” What should a garden centre look for in their poinsettia growers? “Purchase poinsettias from a local grower,” Graeme advises. “These plants don’t like to travel for too long, and will decrease in quality if they spend hours in a vehicle getting to your centre. Try to keep the distance between nursery and your centre within an hour’s drive. Nurseries that are already supplying poinsettias to garden centres are a safer bet, and always ask around for the reputation of the company.” A visit to the nursery site before selecting it as a stockist is also important. “You’ll want to check that all facilities are up to scratch – make sure their greenhouses are warm enough that you have to take your coat off when you go in, for example,” says Graeme. “You don’t want a stockist that

Try to keep the distan e bet een t e n rser and your centre within an o r s dri e, and a a s as aro nd for t e reputation of the company is saving on its heating bills at the cost of its plants.” It can also be useful to discuss with a nursery whether they would be willing to provide several smaller deliveries of poinsettias, rather than the entire stock in one go. “Garden centres aren’t an ideal environment for poinsettias, so keep the gap between the nursery and the customer as small as possible,” Graeme tells us. “The nurseries growing the plants have specialised facilities that keep the plants in peak condition, which just can’t be replicated elsewhere. Garden centres are much better off stocking lower levels of the plants and reordering when they need to, rather than having mass amounts at the centre for extended periods of time.” ◗



15/11/2017 09:25

GCR ads NovDec.indd 7

07/11/2017 08:49

Features Changes in Retail



Following his recent stint on stage at the HTA Garden Futures Conference, Josh McBain of Foresight Factory explores how retail habits have changed this year following major political movement


here were a lot of factors affecting retail this year, but Brexit and the impact on retail was a massive story at the beginning of 2017, and initially there was concern around access to EU migrant labour and the number of EU citizens employed in the UK retail sector. The more immediate concern, however, was rising inflation and its influence on consumer spendin . nflation soared this year from 0.6% to 2.6% which was particularly damaging – but compare it to consumer confidence as an indicator and it barely budged, so we’re seeing a delayed effect. We’re still feeling the aftereffects of the 2008 downturn almost 10 years later, but we are witnessing strong consumer resilience, even with the uncertainty of the future. In the next couple of years, we will start to see the financial effects of Brexit, but will it mark the beginning of a more complicated global trading environment, in which brands must navigate the growing regulatory complexity? It’s hard to say how it will play out through 2018 and 2019, but once there is a deal, the ramifications will be seen immediately. nother ma or influence is that of technology. Technology will never stop advancing, and this year we have seen the rise


of programming like Amazon DRS (Dash Replenishment Service), which enables an automated ordering system when supplies start to run low. Also used by Samsung, programmes like these are becoming increasingly apparent, and more and more companies are beginning to build on smart technologies such as these.

Consumer resilience

Technology is playing a key role in how consumers act; it evolves rapidly over the course of a year, doubling capabilities, which ultimately has an immediate effect on consumer expectations and requirements. Because of this, consumers are growing impatient, and as more ‘on demand’ services are readily available, retailers need to home in on the consumer’s need for immediacy. Companies such as UberRUSH in the US – used by Nordstrom, Walmart and 1-800 – have exploited this behaviour, enabling businesses to make deliveries at the push of a button while allowing you and your consumers to track the delivery. I think the real story is around what the rule of new technology will mean when it comes to in-store automation. We are telling most of our retail clients now that they will have an increasing part to

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

ChangesInRetail.indd 30

play in the customer’s journey in store, by expanding the automation. The Amazon Go store in Seattle is a good template for how that could look. At the same time, it’s not that achievable or even desirable for most retailers, especially garden centres, because of the amount of investment and infrastructure needed. With more of these large online companies moving into stores, a whole new type of competitor has been created for retailers. However, if the customer is going to a garden centre, they’re

not seeking a completely automated experience – interpersonal customer service, in my opinion, will always remain really important. What smaller retailers can do is capitalise on the wider trend that we are seeing towards automation and focus on convenience, and instead play up to the experiential side of what it really means to visit the store. Research from both the UK and US has shown that by 2030, over 25% of jobs are going to be under threat of automation, which highlights

13/11/2017 16:02

Changes in Retail Features

Voice recognition is a ore diffi t trend for arden retai ers to into, b t it s i e o er t e o in ears t at o anies s as oo e and i rosoft i reate a soft are t at b sinesses an ti ise to en an e their trade

the challenges that companies are going to face in the coming decade and how important human customer service is for the industry. I also think that we are on the verge of a complete tech revolution. The rule of far more immersive technologies and apps in-store, such as augmentation, virtual reality and artificial intelli ence, will be harnessed by key retailers. This is also important when it comes to personalisation, as consumers can see how a product will look in their space before they buy it.

ChangesInRetail.indd 31

Another trend that we will see in the coming years is the use of in-store chatbots. Wholefoods, for example, has launched an automated response service, where you can chat on Facebook Messenger and ask questions about a particular product. Another prime example is Alexa on the Amazon Echo, which uses voice recognition along with chatbot technology to personalise a response, which simulates human interaction. This is a more difficult trend for arden retailers to plug into, but it’s

likely over the coming years that companies such as Google and Microsoft will create a software that businesses can utilise to enhance their trade. Mindfulness and wellbeing is an increasingly popular trend, and I think this will have a huge part to play in a customer’s store experience. It can be about redesigning the environment to promote a sense of mental wellbeing, and in-depth research around the role that greenery and natural environments have on moods, and this is a trend that garden centres can really tap into.”

There are a lot of things that garden retailers can use to help drive sales, such as skill classes, community-based events and demonstrations. Greater personalisation will also be a key factor, which can come through new types of strategies in-store or perhaps be more tech-led, with more engagement in locational, mobile-driven PoS systems, AR and VR. ◗


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 16:02

Features Lighting



Mark Shortland of Shoplight explores the modern innovations in retail lighting, to discover the various ways a garden centre can highlight products, draw the customer’s eye and create an inviting retail space


ighting technology has changed at a frantic rate over the last decade. With the advent and widespread adoption of LED technology, retailers now take as a given the reduction in energy and maintenance costs that fi tures can provide. The big challenge ahead is to be able to communicate to retailers the vastly varying differences in quality, and to use LED technology to innovate as opposed to producing LED variants of traditional lamp technology li ht fittin s.

New and emerging retail lighting technologies

Spotlighting allows lighting to be targeted to draw the customers’ eye

From a practical point of view, garden centres should look to work with a lighting provider that can offer excellent lighting design services and a comprehensive parts and labour warranty Xxxxxxxxxxx


Lighting.indd 32

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

The latest in retail lighting technology, with regard to LED modules, is the evolution of lights from ‘lamps’ to semi-conductors. This has led technology companies such as LG and Samsung to move into lighting, and has increased the interplay between lighting and technology. The semi-conductors have a phosphor coating applied to them that dictates the colour temperature (warmth), the colour rendering (colour quality) and the output of the LED module. The IoT (Internet of Things) has the potential to revolutionise the retail li htin sector. i ht fittin s become sensors that can collect data through movement, browsing time or a technology called VLC (visible light communication), which can send messages to,

and gain information, from consumers’ smartphones. The challen es are si nificant, thou h to fully ma imise the technology and ensure a complete, holistic offer to the customer, other partners need to be involved, such as electronic shelf-tag suppliers (to track the movement of goods), app developers, and mapping providers. Of course, if the store layout changes, then the maps have to be updated accordingly. There have been a number of trials across the world using IoT technology, but to date there doesn’t appear to have been any rollout. As it is particularly appropriate to large scale supermarkets, it’s believed that the slim margins involved in the grocery sector may be causing this resistance to widespread rollout. We are talking to a number of customers about trials in the short term, but I suspect a new cost-model will be required before it becomes adopted in the market, such as LaaS (light as a service).

Lighting options for garden centres

Garden centres are large-scale retail premises and so the temptation is often to use lots of general lighting to illuminate the space. The problem with this uniform approach is that it creates a bland, uninspiring space where products are not highlighted. It is much better to highlight high margin or footfall-drivers, and to accent these with a combination of general lighting. This can help

13/11/2017 16:28

Lighting Features consumers feel that they are exploring an Aladdin’s cave, rather than shopping in a warehouse. The difference that effective lighting makes to a customer’s retail experience can be dramatic: it can help consumers to identify products, read and digest the communication data (price etc.), and understand the tactile and emotional qualities of a product (colour, fabric type etc.). Many purchases are emotional, and lighting can help to create the setting that allows a product to shine. An area selling clothes should be akin to a good fashion retail store, with warm, high colourrendering lighting, while areas selling garden furniture may still require high colour rendering but with a cooler light source. From a practical point of view, garden centres should look to work with a lighting provider that can offer excellent lighting design services and a comprehensive parts and labour warranty. Working with a provider such as Shoplight gives customers the knowledge that they are working with an expert. It can be tempting to buy low cost lighting, but this is usually a sure fire way to create a lifeless retail space with maintenance issues further down the line. ◗

Fashion retail stores aim for warm, high colour-rendering lighting Below: Effective lighting makes a huge difference to a customer’s experience



Where a large budget is available, general lighting can be reduced. It may still be applied in transient areas, such as ‘corridors’, but each area of the store is then lit depending on the product type and density within it. For example, clothing areas could be lit with tracks and spotlights to a bright level; kitchen equipment could be lit to a lower, more domestic lighting level with some accent lighting, and gardening areas could be lit with more general, whiter lighting. This approach creates a dramatic, contrasting space and produces a ‘department store’ approach, where each product group is lit specifically to its re uirements.

Moderate budget

Where centres have a medium budget, general lighting could still be utilised but with some accent lighting throughout. This could be applied to perimeter product displays, promotional items and high-margin/footfall-driver products. This combination creates visual interest and drama throughout the store.

Smaller budget

Generally smaller budgets will dictate the need for more general lighting. This means a uniform lighting level will be created with less drama, although high quality, good colourrenderin li htin should be specified throu hout to ensure consumers can still identify with products and make informed buying decisions.

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Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 16:29

Preview Harrogate

HARROGATE CHRISTMAS & GIFT FAIR The Harrogate Christmas & Gift Fair is the show to watch for anyone involved in the garden retail sector. It is one of the fastest growing UK trade shows, attracting almost 5,000 visitors, with 10% growth year on year


his show is the number one event for anyone looking for Christmas products, with everything from artificial trees and li htin to tinsel, ornaments, greetings cards and decorations. However, while festivity is a predominant feature, gifts, garden and homeware have also grown hugely: exhibitors will be displaying furniture, interior design products, garden ornaments, gift ranges and even food and drink items. “In the last few years, garden centre buyers have attended the show from all over the UK,” says Simon Anslow, the show’s organiser. “We still have department store buyers, independent gift retailers, visitor attraction and heritage centres and even cathedral and church shops attending – but the fact that there are now so many garden centre buyers visiting the show has attracted diverse new exhibitors. This year alone, we already have over 20 companies exhibiting for the first time. Harrogate Christmas & Gift now extends to nine halls of

While festivity is a predominant feature, gifts, garden and homeware have also grown hugely


Harrogate.indd 34

the Harrogate Convention Centre. Among the major suppliers launching new ranges this year are: Premier Decorations, which will be bringing its entire new catalogue of 2018 products to Hall H, plus its new Outdoor Living and Halloween Collections; Joe Davies, whose 10,000 products include the Shudehill, Equilibrium and snoozies! brands and the Leonardo Collection; Heaven Sends, which is renowned for its witty signs, distinguished clocks, shabby chic accessories and fabulous festive decorations; Gisella Graham, which will be unveiling 16 new coordinated themes, Easter ranges and ‘unscary’ Halloween products; Floralsilk, showing its fabulous themed ranges, and Noma, exhibiting beautiful lighting collections – to name just a few. Hall Q is a relatively new addition to the show and will be home to an exciting array of companies, including: The Playwrite Group, which will be showing off its Santa’s Grotto toys; Amica and Felt Work, bringing its beautiful felt ranges, which include dog decorations, brooches and keyrings; Calico Cottage, showing its innovative in-store fudge making programme, and Culinary Concepts, which will be unveiling its new Christmas ranges exclusively at the show. or the first time, the show will also include a greeting

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

card section, which will be housed in the Royal Hall and will offer cards and stationery items for the entire year. Harrogate Christmas & Gift Fair, from 14-17 January 2018, is free to attend; simply register online, where you will also find full show information and an exhibitor list. Harrogate is very close to the M1 and A1 for those travelling by car, and trains to the town run from London King’s Cross. For those travelling from further afield, eeds radford irport is just 12 miles away, and there are direct fli hts to and from London Heathrow.

13/11/2017 16:05

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Spotlight Products




Tips for displaying greeting cards in your centre


Fantastic Christmas displays from around the country


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Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


15/11/2017 14:10

Products GIMA


MIXING OLD AND NEW If you thought creativity in garden features had died out, the chances are you’ve not seen the spate of stylish, colourful and quirky innovations launched recently by GIMA members. From wooden animals to decorative screens that can provide a canvas for ornamentation, GIMA members have revealed the latest trends to get customers’ attention next season

Simon Goodwin, La Hacienda global merchandise manager says: “We see a lot of mixing the old with the new in architecture and interiors, but it’s about to arrive in gardens too. It never used to be okay to mix styles, but now that’s changing. It’s not about modern or traditional anymore, but how you combine the two in a compelling way – either by incorporating modern elements in a traditional garden or combining bold, traditional elements in a modern garden. That’s what we’ve picked up on for next season, and we have introduced stylish and sophisticated decorative armillaries and fi ed weathervanes to our growing garden décor collection.”


Smart Garden’s Flamboya range is new for 2018, and consists of 110 new products, including hanging garden ornaments, specially tuned wind chimes, fade resistant PVC hanging baskets, hypnotic InSpinners and aptly named ‘Loony’ and ‘Barmy’ animal character stakes, designed to add an extra element of fun to the garden. Smart Garden managing director Jonathan Stobart says: “Garden décor represents a key area of growth for us, and we believe that the Flamboya range – and supporting sub-brands – will set the new standard for quality, breadth of product and merchandising support. We are excited for customers to see what we’ve been working on, and look forward to seeing it in store come spring 2018.” Think Outside is experiencing a busy period, with ranges garnering strong reviews in the consumer media – something they have been paying particular attention to in 2017. A new wooden range of animal characters called ‘the Carpenters’ has been especially popular, says Think Outside creator and owner Aaron Jackson. “We are always striving to bring new and innovative products to market, and initial feedback has blown us away. We are thrilled by the reaction ‘the Carpenters’ has received in the UK so far.’’ Another product that has been getting the media excited at Glee was Screen with Envy – weatherproof garden screens and trellises made from advanced wood composite, marrying the look of wood with the durability of composite. Highly commended by GIMA for the Innovators’ Seed Corn Fund prize, and runner up at Glee 2017, the screens can be used for a variety of projects, including cladding tired fences, hiding unsightly areas, screening bin areas, training plants, partitioning, garden art, hot tub surrounds and per ola roofin .

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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07/11/2017 08:55

Products Cards



Greeting cards are an excellent way to draw in gift-givers and well-wishers at different times throughout the year. Here are GCR’s top tips for displaying your card offering


s garden centres evolve, many different products can be found on the shelves that never would have been seen there 20 years ago. Along with candles and diffusers, greetings cards are an excellent way to maximise revenue opportunities – especially around national holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day. In this age of technological advancements, text messages and social media seem to be the easiest ways for people to send a message in situations where cards would previously have been posted. However, nothing quite has the same feeling as receiving a proper written card. The core customer of a garden centre is typically of a certain age, and it would be fair to say that they aren’t taking up technology to the same extent as the younger generation. This generation still think it’s more personal and more special to send a card – so displaying a range of greetings cards seems a sensible step for retailers who want to make the most out of every visit from every customer.

Along with candles and diffusers, greeting cards are an excellent way to maximise revenue opportunities – especially around national holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

Product Focus Cards.indd 40

Displaying cards

You know what to expect when walking into most card shops – rack and racks of 12-tier card stands, each area divided into categories such ‘new home’, ‘happy birthday’ and so on. This is possible on a smaller scale in a garden centre – you could have a couple of metrewide displays, divided into sections. The best thing about this is that many of the stands come with built in cupboard storage underneath, meaning that, if staffed correctly, the display will always be full, with refill cards located at a convenient spot. During national holidays, the sections can easily be swapped about, with certain sections afforded more space. This time of year sees a big spike in Christmas card sales, so why not dedicate 75% of your card display space to them?

Moveable racks

Another common sight in shops that aren’t dedicated card shops are rotary racks that are easy to move around the store. These give you the reatest fle ibility when it comes to setting up your card display. For example, around Mother’s Day, you would be able to move a rack laden with dedicated cards to sit next to your Mother’s Day gift displays. This makes it easier for your customers to locate what they

15/11/2017 14:07

Cards Products the till, or an accessory that everyone needs. There are some excellent countertop card display stands on the market, and these would be a fantastic way to maximise the revenue opportunity that greetings cards offer to garden centres. As with the other options, these can be loaded with seasonal cards, or even discounted cards if you’re trying to rid your storage areas of surplus units. There are a variety of different options, but a combination of the above options would definitely add something to your store – and you may even see a rise in the bottom line from this product category. are looking for, and it may also spark an impulse purchase for a customer who only came in for a gift.

Space-saving wall racks

nother way to flaunt your card offering is with a wall mounted card rack. These are an excellent space-saving option, allowing you to start offering cards for sale without giving up valuable money-making floor space. ain, these wall mounts can be put up next to your Christmas displays, loaded with colourful festive cards and then taken down after the season has passed. Wall mounted racks also offer visual appeal. The mounts are contemporary, can be placed at a comfortable height for guests who may not be able to reach the top level of a standard card rack and, if needed, also allow for multiple sets of cards to be situated among different displays in your shop.

Countertop racks

Impulse purchasing is nothing new; if each of your customers spent just 10% more than what they intended to buy, garden centre owners would be a very happy bunch. The best way to squeeze every penny out of a customer is to have interesting novelty items at

Product Focus Cards.indd 41

CARD PRODUCTS Olivia Hick’s Animal Cards

Company: Wraptious Olivia Hick’s Swaledale Ram, Highland Cow and Stag cards are part of her bold range of animal portraitures, guaranteed to stand out on the shelf. Supplied in packs of six. RRP: £2.25-£2.50

Berry Wreath Christmas Card

Company: Doodleicious Art Sarah Capper started doodling as a child, and it continued into adulthood. With the Berry Wreath card, one from her festive collection, Sarah has been able to capture the festive season in her own unique style. This is just one of 50 designs available. RRP: £2.50-£2.95 Flight of the Bumblebee Greeting Card Company: Wrendale Designs This beautiful bumblebee amongst tulips by award-winning artist Hannah Dale comes with a brown recycled Kraft envelope. RRP: £2.50

Into The Wild Range

Company: Claire Louise Using a sophisticated colour palette, Claire has created her new signature range of wildlife cards with a timeless look and feel. Blank inside, each card comes cellowrapped with a grey envelope. RRP: £2.50

Wildlife Range

Company: Glebe Cottage Eco-friendly greeting card publisher Glebe Cottage produces greeting cards, Christmas cards, notecards and a calendar all in support of The Wildlife Trusts, Featuring the best of British wildlife. RRP: £2.10-£8.99

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


15/11/2017 15:13

Products Visual Merchandising


IDEAS TO INSPIRE It’s that time of year again, and the team at Garden Centre Retail is always inspired by the phenomenal Christmas displays in garden centres around the country. Here are a few of our favourites...


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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15/11/2017 09:11

Visual Merchandising Products

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Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


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Statues Products

Latest products

Decorative Harrington Armillary Sphere

Company: La Hacienda Launched: September 2017 Purely decorative, La Hacienda’s new Harrington armillary sphere brings a touch of heritage and intrigue to an outdoor space. esi ned to hold flickerin candles, it makes a great table centrepiece for alfresco dinner parties. Alternatively, stand it on a wall or plinth to create a striking focal point. RRP £25.99

STATUES & ORNAMENTS New Baby Rudolph the Reindeer

Tulip Water Feature

Company: Deco-Pak Launched: June 2017 Handcrafted from natural rainbow sandstone, this stunning water feature adds class and style to any garden in both day and night, due to its LED lighting. Buyers have been amazed by the simple installation process and the quality of the stone and design, which ensures it will last for years. RRP £1,299

Farmhouse Racing Sloop Copper Weathervane

Company: Espira (UK) Ltd Launched: April 2017 Farmhouse Weathervanes are the perfect complement for any garden. Handcrafted from pure copper and brass by skilled artisans, the Racing Sloop Weathervane is a firm favourite with those who enjoy the nautical lifestyle. RRP £258

LP_Statues.indd 45

Company: Tilnar Art Launched: August 2017 Tilnar Art’s recycled metal creations make a wonderful addition to any winter garden. As each sculpture is individually made, each will be unique, with its own markings and pose. The products are Fair Trade and handmade in Zimbabwe, with purchases helping to provide a stable income and good standard of living for the artists and their families. RRP £24.99

Tulip Urn with Tudor Rose Plinth

Company: Austin Stone Launched: September 2017 The Tulip Urn and Tudor Rose Plinth makes an ideal feature item in any garden, patio or driveway. They are constructed using the best materials and processes available, and treated in order to improve resistance to frost and protect Austin tone s popular otswold finish. Offered in a variety of designs and ranging in weight from 1kg to 100kg. RRP Urn: £59.99, Plinth: £59.99

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 16:36

Products Candles

Latest products


Woodland Walks

Company: Sophie Allport Launched: September 2017 Sophie Allport’s Woodland Walks home fragrance includes 75g candles, 220g boxed candles, stylish reed diffusers and gorgeous 690g large botanical candles. The scent aims to bring to mind country winter walks, crunchy autumnal leaves, sloe in drinkin , cosy times by the fire, frosty winter weather, festive family gatherings and the contrast between the cold outdoors and the warm, inviting indoors. All Sophie Allport candles are handmade in the England from mineral wax that is blended with a high quality fragrance. RRP £7-£25

Candles in a Can Range

Company: Heyland & Whittle Launched: August 2017 Heyland & Whittle’s new range of Scentsational Candles in a Can consist of generous 250g soy wax candles that are fragranced with the aromas of fruits and vegetables. They feature eye catching, bold design in a 100% recyclable can, and are available in Strawberry, Pineapple, Mandarin, Vanilla Custard, Garden Pea, Coconut Milk, Black Olive, and Tomato & Herb scents. RRP £15

Wild Fig Scented Candle

Company: Beefayre Launched: September 2017 Made with natural plant wax for extra-long burn time, and beautifully scented with a wild fi fra rance. he candle has a silver print on the lass, and of all profits go to bee conservation causes. RRP £18

Festive Wild Things Luxury Scented Candles

Company: Ashleigh & Burwood Launched: September 2017 Inspired by England’s rich history of adventurous eccentrics and pioneers, Wild Things traces a journey across the globe, capturing the spirit of the weird and the wonderful in a collection of ‘scented souvenirs’. Eight scents are paired with vibrant graphic artworks created by Ashleigh & Burwood’s in-house designer Sumitta SpencerTownson, with the collection comprising three festive designs: Monarch of the Forest, Mr Fox and Owl Night Long. RRP £38


Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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Fragrance IV Scented Candle

Company: Potters Crouch Candles Launched: October 2017 The Fragrance IV candle is scented with notes of frankincense, vetiver, amber, vanilla, myrrh, cistus and orris root. Boasting exquisite powdery and woody notes, orris root takes up to six years to mature after harvest and its price is three and a half times that of gold. RRP £24.99

13/11/2017 16:37


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For details on more of our value for money pallet deals please download the Pallet Deals Brochure from our website: or to place an order please call 01323 831888 or email

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Handcrafted ▪ From stock ▪ 4mm steel ▪ Great in a display

Inspiration in the Garden

Call: 0131 335 5955


Fax: 0131 335 5960


07/11/2017 09:08

GCR ads NovDec.indd 13

07/11/2017 09:12


Neudorff Nematodes Anatomy of a Product All you need to know to sell...


A NATURAL FORM OF PLANT PROTECTION Neudorff is the first company to bring non-refrigerated nematodes to the UK for the safe, natural and effective biological control of chafer grubs, vine weevils and leatherjackets.

at are benefi ia nematodes?

Nematodes are very small, white to colourless roundworms, which have adapted to live in almost every ecosystem in the world. Some species are predatory and it is these species that are utilised in horticulture as a natural form of plant protection.

How do nematodes work?

Once applied to moist ground, the nematodes search out their specific target pest larvae and enter them via their natural openings. Once inside they infect the host with bacteria, which multiplies and kills the host insect. Once dead, the nematodes begin to feed on the host tissue, they then multiply moving on to the next pest and the next. Once their food source is exhausted the nematodes will themselves die, making them a natural and indiscrete pest control option that is safe for pets, children and beneficial wildlife.

Why are Neudorff ne atodes ni e

Neudorff nematodes do not need to be refrigerated due to a formulation that puts the nematodes into a state called cryptobiosis, where they do not move or use oxygen. The formula also maintains the correct moisture level

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for extended survival. The product can be sold straight from attractive display units on the shelf in-store, so consumers can use them on the day of purchase instead of having to wait to receive them through mail order, and they are perfect for display in both lawn care and pest control fixtures. The nematodes have a shelf life of six months, and are easy to apply, especially with the Neudorff NemaSprayer. The individual soluble bio-pouches make it easy to use the nematodes: the sachets are simply dissolved in water.


to a

Neudorff nematodes can be applied in four simple steps: 1. Water the lawn or soil to ensure it is ready for the nematodes. 2. Fill the Neudorff NemaSprayer or a watering can with water and the nematode sachet. 3. Apply the nematode and water mixture to the lawn or soil. 4. Keep the area moist for the next three days (or a week in dry weather). To find out more, visit or call 0121 7671821

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


15/11/2017 08:20

Trading With Gardena



GCR speaks to Dearbháil Ní Chualáin, research and development manager, horticulture at o d na na, to find out about the su e s o n ed a odu ts and hat the company can offer garden centre stockists

Our ecologists are recognised worldwide in terms of their expertise, and ecologists from around the globe regularly visit us to observe our rehabilitation plans Can you outline the history of the company? Bord na Móna was founded more than 80 years ago, and has grown to become the leading Irish supplier of growing media and bark – in both Ireland and the UK. We were the fastest growing player in the garden centre sector in 2016, and currently represent 34% of the market share. The company is quite diverse, with several different divisions – including power generation, resource recovery, horticulture and peat. ur first horticulture factory opened in 1948 in Kilberry, an Irish town just an hour outside of Dublin, and to this day we use the same site to manufacture and bag our compost and growing media.


What is the company’s ethos? Our whole ethos is based on a journey of change, and to continue to evolve as a company to enable a more sustainable future. We are always looking at ways to harness our natural resources, and to transition away from our dependency on peat to more sustainable green energy. On the social side, we have the aim of rehabilitating more land and giving back to surrounding communities for tourism and amenities. Tell us about Bord na Móna’s commitment to sustainability. Sustainability is at the heart of Bord na Móna. We’ve recognised that as a company we need to work to build a sustainable future, and are also committed to protecting the environment. The business is built on three pillars of sustainability – people, planet and profit, which all of our business decisions relate back to. We have very strong links in the community – a lot of our employees are second or third generations working with us, which is great. We are a big employer in the

Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017

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area, which is very rural, and consider our people to be our biggest asset. We own 200,000 acres of land, which is mainly bog, and have an extensive bog restoration programme with a dedicated team of ecologists. Our ecologists are recognised worldwide in terms of their expertise, and ecologists from around the globe regularly visit us to observe our rehabilitation plans. Over the last 10 years, more than 1,000ha of raised bog in the midlands have been restored, helping to provide a focus on biodiversity, which contributes to climate stability, protects water resources, forms and protects soils, stores and recycles nutrients, and maintains a healthy ecosystem. What does Bord na Móna do to support its garden centre stockists? We provide PoS for our stockists, including the Product Picker for our newly launched fertiliser range, designed to demystify this product category. In a lot of cases, a person can visit a garden centre to buy fertiliser and will feel overwhelmed by the sheer

number of products available. Using the Product Picker, which sits on the shelf beside the range, a customer can match their needs to a specific product. In addition to this, we have created strong packaging with a simple consistent message – the packaging reflects our brand, while colour codin and ima ery reflects its primary use. What differentiates Bord na Móna from its competitors? The main thing that separates Bord na Móna is the company’s consistency in delivering high quality products – over the last eight years the company is very proud to have won 14 Which? Gardening ‘Best Buy’ awards. The high quality of our peat has also been recognised across the world, and has been used in the Camp Nou Football Stadium in Barcelona as well as race tracks in the UAE, which is a fantastic endorsement of the product. ◗


15/11/2017 09:07


For full details on all jobs, please go to

Call 01903 777 580 or email with your vacancy



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 • •

Our client is a prestigious group of garden centres with sites around the UK. They now have a post for a sundries manager. You should have both product and retail management knowledge. This is an exciting time to join this expanding business.

For more details, please go to


This position is in a garden centre renowned for supplying top quality plants. You will play a key part in the success of the centre by assisting the management team and have a wide and varied role focused on supporting management on the financial, customer service and staff performance of your department. For more details, please go to


For a prestigious garden centre business. You should have first class knowledge of Christmas and furniture, have great financial and commercial acumen along with merchandising ability.

For more details, please go to


HORTICRUITMENT Essex An expanding group of destination garden centres is currently seeking EPoS managers for one of their sites. Responsibilities will include overseeing the smooth intake of goods, entering on to the system with accuracy and speed with up to date information being passed through all departments. The appointed person will possess good computer and Excel skills, with a head for numbers and be confident to manage a team. For more details, please go to

JobsNovDec.indd 51

Glasshouses bought, sold and refurbished. Venlo specialists. Structures for Garden Centres. All aspects of glasshouse work including poly roofs, snow damage and Composite panels. 01724 734374 Tel: 01724 734374 01482 Fax: 648032 01482 648032 Email:

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WWW.GARDENCENTRERETAIL.COM Garden Centre Retail November/December 2017


13/11/2017 16:13


Style from

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An exclusive collection of complementary festive tree ornaments, fine wreaths & garlands, wintery foliage and authentic Christmas trees, developed and delivered to you by our talented team.

Don’t just take our word for it, come and see us at Harrogate Christmas & Gift 14th – 17th January 2018 Hall B, Stand B1/B5

01778 425 205

Spring Fair 4th – 8th February 2018 Hall 2, Stand F04

07/11/2017 09:14 01/11/2017 10:03

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