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Garden Centre Retail Issue 30 • March/April 2017












Preparing for change

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is a positive Brexiteer


Kadai Firebowls

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Garden Centre Retail W

elcome to the March/April issue of Garden Centre Retail. With spring just around the corner, the industry is getting busy with preparations for better weather and the surge of business that comes with it. Since our last issue there has been a gamut of events from the Garden Press Event and Spring Fair to the HTA Contact Conference and GCA Annual Conference, and we’d like to congratulate all GCA Award winners for the well deserved recognition of their high retail standards, hard work and continual striving for excellence. For those who weren’t able to attend the HTA Contact Conference or the GCA Annual Conference, we’ve included in this issue a rundown of each event in our News Extra section. This month in GCR, we talk to Ferndale Garden Centre director and HTA Yorkshire representative Neil Grant about Brexit, and his predictions for the effect leaving the EU will have on garden centres. Neil’s positive outlook challenges the doom and gloom that Brexit will be at best a hindrance and at worst a devastating blow, and reminds us that the garden centre industry has overcome difficult times before, and can do so again. We also hear from Summit ’s head of online marketing Dave Trolle about the ever-present threat of online shopping to bricks and mortar stores, and gain his advice for enticing the new generation of shoppers who have grown up with the internet at their fingertips. Our main interview is with Terry Head, retail and marketing director of Stewarts Garden Centres, who takes us through the redevelopments, new site and future plans Stewarts has in the pipeline, as well as discussing their approach to their staff, which he feels has been key to the company’s success. Enjoy your read. Have a great month.

Joe Wilkinson Publisher Garden Centre Retail

The industry is getting busy with preparations for better weather and the surge of business that comes with it


Garden Centre Retail

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EDITORIAL Publisher – Joe Wilkinson Tel: 01903 777 577 Features Editor – Ash O’Mahony Tel: 01903 777 585 Editorial Assistant – Ashley Lampard Tel: 01903 777 570 Production Editor – Susie Duff Tel: 01903 777 578 Subeditor – Charlie Cook Tel: 01903 777 578 ADVERTISING Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson Tel: 01903 777 588 Sales Manager – Tina Savelle Tel: 01903 777 582 Horticulture Careers – Liam Colclough Tel: 01903 777 574 PRODUCTION Design – Kara Thomas, Mandy Armstrong Printed by Pensord Press Ltd, Gwent, UK Published by ©Eljays44 Ltd MANAGEMENT Managing Director – Jim Wilkinson Director – Lisa Wilkinson Business Development Manager – Jamie Wilkinson MARKETING AND CIRCULATION Client relations – Amber Bernabe Tel: 01903 777 581 Subscription enquiries – Emily Maltby Tel: 01903 777 575

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Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


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contents Garden Centre Retail Issue 30 • March/April 2017










Preparing for change

is a positive Brexiteer




Kadai Firebowls




How will Brexit affect garden centres?


Should we stop selling glyphosate?


A roundup of the latest news from the sector


We report back from the GCA Annual Conference and the HTA Contact Conference

28 CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT Expert advice on general merchandising to drive sales


What to consider when hosting events


Advice on how to stay on your toes and compete with online retailing


Terry Head, retail and marketing director of Stewarts Garden Centres

19 HR

Gemma Murphy offers advice on common HR issues for employers


Best practice in using social media to market your business


This month’s news from the suppliers


Pest control, growing media, pet products, outdoor eating, timber products and gifts





The pros and cons of concessions Why you should consider a circus event for your garden centre



Kelkay: Borderstone Natural Paving John Hinde, Kadai Firebowls


Advice on stocking aquatics


Ed Deane discusses pest control for the modern consumer


House plant selection, displays and positioning within your centre



How to help your customers build bug-conscious gardens



Tips on how to maintain successful business relations with suppliers


Consultant Chris Primett predicts how the industry will look in the future

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61 Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


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news Agenda


Stephen Megson Company director, Crown Garden Centre & Nursery

Jon Bottomley Commercial director, Newbank Garden Centre

Liz Finney Manager, Goonhavern Garden Centre

Charlie Groves Managing director, Groves Nurseries

As a retailer my weedkiller shelves would be virtually empty. I don’t believe customers overuse glyphosate. We’re based in the middle of Yorkshire – our customers wouldn’t waste good money on a product to use it without care. My gardening customers have watched chemicals disappear off the shelves in the last few years without credible alternatives being introduced. The problems will have come from the wider market uses of glyphosate, not as a weedkiller which was its original use, and so I believe it’s wrong to restrict the use of an effective weedkiller to my gardening customers. We as retailers are in the front line having to explain why you can’t buy a fungicide for fruit etc. To stop selling glyphosate would be wrong.

We stopped ordering glyphosate probably around 18 months ago, and sold off our remaining stock. It’s a very difficult position – customers have complained and we used to sell huge quantities of glyphosate products so it is a big loss, however we are very environmentally conscious and even though legislation may change as we leave the EU, we wouldn’t feel comfortable selling it unless proof was clear that it didn’t affect the environment.

We have a very traditional customer base here in our part of Cornwall, and in general we struggle to sell the organic/natural alternatives. Glyphosate is by far our bestselling weedkiller. I don’t know whether it’s because of the average age of our customer, but they tell us they need something that works. If they’ve used it and had good results, why should they change? On the flip side, we have had a few protesters against glyphosate who have written asking us to take it off our shelves. The bottom line is: as long as we’re selling it, we’re going to continue stocking it.

I can’t speak for other garden centres but we will continue to stock glyphosate whilst it’s available. We have no way of testing the safety of a product so as a garden centre we rely on statutory bodies to inform us of what’s safe and what’s not. If the product is deemed to be unsafe, it will be withdrawn from the market and of course we will stop selling it. The recent WHO reclassification hasn’t helped this issue, with glyphosate being classified as ‘probably’ carcinogenic. It makes a good headline until you realise that this classification puts it in the same category as red meat and shift work and a safer classification than sausages and other processed meat. We do understand that there are also political issues surrounding Monsanto and in particular Roundup. The debate comes down to consumer choice and we do offer alternative forms of glyphosate. We have no problem with the debate, however it does often get confused with the neonicotinoid issues. At the end of the day we are retailers led by our consumers and if they decided they no longer wished to use glyphosate on political grounds then we would no longer stock it.

We are very environmentally conscious and even though legislation may change as we leave the EU, we wouldn’t feel comfortable selling it unless proof was clear that it didn’t affect the environment Jon Bottomley


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Agenda news


Paul Brewster Store manager, Cherry Hill Garden Centre

Fraser McTaggart Assistant manager, The Mains of Drum

Alan Mercer Partner, Hillier Garden Centres

At the present time, I think garden centres have no alternative but to sell glyphosate until either a product comes along that can replace it or there is concrete evidence of the dangers of using it. We do sell other weedkillers which are more eco-friendly, but you do find the sales are poor compared to glyphosate. What we need is better education of the public on what products are out there that will do the job and be better for our world. This retraining of the public to alternatives is something that as a company we’re looking to move forward, with a good, clear point of sale, selling the benefits of the products and better staff training so they can be more informative about the options customers have. If we all get behind these companies offering eco-friendly products and increase sales this will hopefully bring down the cost, which currently sell higher than our glyphosate alternatives.

Agricultural industries, garden centres, nurseries and landscaping businesses all rely on glyphosate for a number of tasks. It’s highly debated throughout the world whether this should be the case. Some evidence is supplied by glyphosate suppliers that suggest the chemical is safe and can be consumed without any adverse effects, and other evidence is supplied by environmental groups claiming glyphosate is carcinogenic and harmful to ecosystems. Overseas, we can observe that there are conflicting views on the product as well – the Netherlands has banned sales to individuals and France is looking to follow suit. With no law from the UK banning sales of the product to businesses or individuals yet, it should be up to consumers to decide whether or not to use glyphosate in their own gardens. I do believe it’s up to garden centres to educate their customers on the matter and make people aware of the harmful effects they may have. We also have a responsibility to the general public to suggest more environmentally friendly ways of weed suppression.

Roundup has been a massive product for us over the last 20 years. If the licence to use glyphosate doesn’t get renewed, we would simply be forced to offer our customers the next best product. Many products have been delisted over the years and it has become the ‘norm’ for us to have popular products withdrawn from sale. The biggest issue we face is reducing customers’ frustration – they get very annoyed when the product they have used for years disappears. This is where training our sales staff has become paramount. I can’t imagine it will be removed as a product, but then again, we might not even be part of the EU if and when it’s dropped, which would make a much harder decision for retailers. Would we continue to sell glyphosate if they stopped selling it in EU countries? At present no one seems to have any answers, and we’re happy to offer our customers glyphosate based weedkillers. We’ve trained all our staff to ensure that customers use Roundup only as instructed. We’ve also explained to our staff the current thinking about glyphosate to ensure they aren’t panicked by customers telling them that Roundup has been reclassified as potentially carcinogenic.  Agenda.indd 7

Roundup has been a massive product for us over the last 20 years. If the licence doesn’t get renewed we would be forced to offer customers the next best product

Alan Mercer

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Brimsmore Gardens celebrates 25th anniversary

NEWS CENTRE Outline permission granted for Newbank Garden Centre extension


lans to extend a garden centre in Radcliffe have been given outline permission by planners. The proposal relating to the well-established Newbank Garden Centre sought planning consent for a single storey retail and café extension. The space currently occupied by an outdoor sales area, garden and café seating will be replaced with a new café and toilet and baby changing facilities. A new outside seating area will connect the new café directly to the garden centre,


enabling complete undercover access for customers. A new till hall at ground floor level will also be built to deal with increasing footfall. Chorlton Planning Ltd, the consultants dealing with the proposal, stated that for the application to be accepted a number or objectives needed to be met, including maximising the economic benefits of the borough’s attractive environment and minimising conflicts with the surrounding area, whilst ensuring satisfactory standards of design.

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eovil-based Brimsmore Gardens began its 25th anniversary celebrations on Wednesday 1 March with a cake cutting ceremony attended by customers old and new, as well as friends of the garden centre, which is part of The Gardens Group. Deputy mayor of Yeovil, Councillor David Recardo, who was honoured to be asked to attend the celebrations, congratulated the garden centre team and commented on the friendly, smiley and helpful service he experiences every time he visits. Following

the toast, the cake was cut to declare the 14 days of celebrations open. Adam Wallis, general manager of Brimsmore Gardens, said: “It was a real pleasure to see so many residents, customers and local businesses attend the ceremony to mark this very special milestone. We are extremely proud of all of our achievements over the past 25 years, in particular our continuing role in the local community, and are really looking forward to seeing what the next 25 years has in store.”

Home and Garden Group announces new appointment


he Home and Garden Group, which currently operates nine garden centres, has announced that Neil Stevens, former director of The Garden Store Ltd, has joined its management team as business development manager. Managing director David White said: “I’m really looking forward to working with Neil. His management style and industry knowledge will be a great benefit to our retail business. Neil joins us just at the right time as we start our early season offer campaign and I’m looking forward to a record breaking year with the strong management team we have in place.”

Neil Stevens said: “I’m delighted to be joining David, Karen and the Home and Garden team. The company has grown with speed over the last three years which is very exciting, and I look forward to sharing my experiences from The Garden Store to strengthen trading at Home and Garden’s current nine stores as well as developing future business.”

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GCA announces chairman elect for 2018/19


he Garden Centre Association (GCA) has announced its chairman elect for 2018/19. Mike Lind, managing director of Monkton Elm Garden & Pet Centre in Somerset, was revealed as the GCA’s chairman elect for 2018/19 during its annual conference, which took place in St Andrews, Scotland. Mike said: “When I begin my work as chairman of the GCA in January 2018, I will continue to focus on the core benefits of membership and our strategy, which has the following main objectives: • Deliver an aspirational members’ conference • Promote regional activities and networking between members • Monthly barometer of trade • GROW our e-learning initiative • The annual standards inspection process. “Above all I want to strive to make sure the GCA remains relevant to the interests of our members and is seen as an association that is beneficial to our businesses but is also fun to be part of.”

RHS reveals most troublesome pests and diseases of 2016


lugs and snails, and honey fungus were named the top plant pests and disease of 2016, based on enquiries received by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Gardening Advice Service. Last year slugs and snails, which had been the number one pests for eight of the past 10 years, were pushed off the top spot by the box tree moth, but in 2016 the pests came back with a vengeance, generating a record number of enquiries and regaining the number one spot. As in the previous 21 years, honey fungus was named the most troublesome plant disease by gardeners, with RHS scientists identifying its presence on 70 host genera.

But while the top spots were predictable, it was the emergence of pests such as glasshouse thrips and fuchsia gall mite that gave the top 10 an unfamiliar look. Fuchsia gall mite moved five places up the table from eighth position in 2015 to being named the third most problematic pest of 2016. Glasshouse thrips had an even more spectacular rise, moving from outside the top 10 in 2015 to fourth place last year.

Squire’s Garden Centre in Chertsey officially opens


quire’s chairman, deputy chairman and Mayor of Runnymede Councillor Alan Alderson officially opened the new Squire’s Garden Centre in Chertsey on March 1. A plaque was unveiled on a 300-year-old olive tree, which had been planted by chairman Colin Squire to commemorate the opening of the new centre. An olive tree was chosen as it is a tree of great vigour, very

hardy and easy to grow, and it is a symbol of abundance, glory and peace. Invited guests had a tour of the garden centre, which has a new outdoor plant area and a stylish shop with a range of gifts. Customers enjoyed live music in the new café bar, which is housed in a 200-yearold octagonal lodge building, which has been lovingly restored to keep its character.

Work begins on new restaurant for Groves Nurseries


roves Nurseries has begun work on refurbishments including a new café and restaurant which will cater for up to 100 people. Charlie Groves, managing director of Groves, said: “It’s very exciting to see the first building works start after the long planning process, but it is business as usual.  News_Mar/Apr.indd 9

“We hope there won’t be too much disruption this week as they lay cables for the new café, but I would suggest customers try to visit us earlier in the day, between 8am and 10am when it’s usually quieter. “With works going on at the front of the nursery for these first few weeks, we have also

reduced our free delivery threshold, for DT6 and DT8 postcodes, to an order spend of just £10 to help our customers.”

Submit your news stories to Garden Centre Retail If you would like to submit any stories regarding garden centres or the horticultural industry, please email them to

Garden Centre Retail March/April 20179

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news Extra

The 2016 inspectors shared best practice in their respective areas, and suggested various methods and ideas for improvement



The GCA Annual Conference this year celebrated the best practice and high retail standards found in garden centres across the country


his year’s GCA Annual Conference began with a welcome from chairman Julian Winfield. The first seminar of the day was led by John Ashley, who outlined the tremendous support received for Greenfingers and Garden Re-Leaf Day in 2016, with the former raising over £430k in total, and the latter over £140k. Mike Burks followed by thanking the four GCA inspectors for their hard work over 2016, welcoming new inspectors Gordon Emslie, Michael Cole and Hedley Triggs and saying farewell to Alyson Haywood, Andy Campbell and Ian Boardman, who will be stepping down from their roles this year. The four 2016 inspectors shared best practice in their respective areas, and suggested ideas for improvement in the Inspection Roundup. Andy Campbell, judge of the 2016 GCA


Christmas Competition, gave a presentation showcasing the best of this year’s entries, awarding Castle Gardens with best garden centre and Barton Grange with best destination garden centre. GCA inspector Roger Crookes followed with an overview of this year’s Ruxley Rose Competition, and urged garden centres to prioritise plants, promote colour themes and maximise demand for wild plants. The final round of Ruxley Rose included 21 garden centres, with Cowells winning best garden centre, and Squire’s Twickenham best destination garden centre. Marketing director of Westland, Keith Nicholson, and Ian Boardman introduced the five finalists for GCA Rising Stars, with each giving a presentation outlining their chosen project, what they achieved and how they have benefited from the

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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programme. Founder and managing director of Visual Thinking Karl McKeever followed, stating that retail today is fundamentally more complex than it ever has been. The conference continued with the Annual Inspection Special Awards, presented by Ian Boardman, and founder of Jon Wilks Associates Jon Wilks concluded the first day of seminars, using his years of experience in marketing, sales and business development to inspire garden centres to increase their profits. Jon focused on the importance of staff engagement within a business, and how humility and strong company values can make all the difference in retail success. Paul Cooling opened the second day of the conference with a look at the 2016 trip to Switzerland and a preview of the congress set to take place in Canada this year. Pete Goss

MBE, one of Britain’s most celebrated sailors followed, describing his rescue of French rival Raphael Dinelli whose boat capsized in a hurricane during the Vendée Globe, showing the amazing feats that can be achieved with passion and teamwork. Next came Mike Burks from the GCA Executive Committee who gave a presentation on GROW, including the recent work to make the programme available to all HTA members and future aspirations. HTA Academy and Careers manager Penny Evans outlined the benefits e-learning can bring to the sector, and the factors to consider when deciding whether GROW or the HTA Academy is right for their business. Writer and acclaimed leadership and performance expert Rasmus Ankerson followed with a detailed look at how to maximise performance within a business, giving tips on how to select the best candidate for a job and getting the most out of a team. The penultimate seminar was led by Professor Gareth Jones, who encouraged garden centres to give their employees leadership experience early on to get the best out of them, and explored what makes an authentic, successful leader within a business. Tim Harford concluded the seminars with a look at the current British economy, future predictions in light of Brexit, and the necessity for businesses to be adaptable to achieve success in the next few years. ◗

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Extra news



This year’s HTA Contact Conference focused on the upcoming challenges for growers and the industry as a whole including Brexit, changes in legislation, seasonal labour and plant health


fter a welcome from Bransford Webbs managing director Geoff Caesar, the seminars of the 2017 HTA Contact Conference opened with an examination of the long and short term effects of Brexit from Joshua McBain, head of innovation at Foresight Factory. The topic of Brexit was continued in the second seminar of the day with Jan de Vries, director of Boot and Dart nurseries in Boskoop, who discussed how European trading partners are viewing Britain’s departure. Seminars continued with a detailed look at UK plant health from chief plant health officer Nicola Spence, who outlined the challenges and opportunities the next few years will bring. Nicola also examined current progress and possible next steps in reducing levels of pests and diseases entering the UK from overseas. Propagation and environmental manager of Boningale Nurseries Nerys Arch followed, explaining the prototype plant health management system Boningale has developed to minimise the emergence and spread of disease and pests in its products. HTA horticulture director Raoul Curtin-Machin joined Nerys to discuss the significant benefits of the nursery sector as a whole adopting a plant health management system, which is in the process of being trialled for wider industry use. John Adlam of Dove Associates outlined new government proposals for water abstraction reforms,

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How can the sector clearly explain to consumers which growers are and aren’t complying with current health and safety regulations of their plants? which will see drip irrigation included for the first time, as well as best practice in water resilience and the likely future state of UK pesticides post Brexit. Horticultural advisor for ornamentals, fruit and glasshouse crops at the NFU Amy Gray examined the critical need for seasonal labour within the industry, and the challenges the sector faces in this context, including Brexit and the National Living Wage. The high rate of Quercus imported rather than grown in Britain was explored by David Brown, who suggested opportunities for the UK to turn this around, and technical director of Melcourt Industries Ltd Catherine Dawson outlined the Responsible Sourcing of Growing Media Scheme. The conference ended with a panel session chaired by Raoul Curtis-Machin, and

focused on the effects of Brexit for growers and plant health, asking: What would need to be done practically to have more home growing in the UK? How can we encourage young, skilled workers to join the industry? How can the sector clearly explain to consumers which growers are and aren’t complying with current health and safety regulations? The second and final day of the conference began with a presentation from James Hitchmough, head of department and professor of horticultural ecology in the department of landscape at the University of Sheffield, who explored which plants are needed for the sustainable modern city, suggesting ways of developing a much needed, more strategic view of plant use in the coming years. Managing director of Kernock Plants Ltd

Bruce Harnett followed with a look at what the future could hold for horticulture and the likely integration of technology into the sector. The first workshop of the day was led by Raoul Curtis-Machin, who discussed the progress of the Ornamental Horticulture Roundtable Action Plan. David Denny, marketing and insights manager at the HTA took a look at disruptive change in the second workshop, explaining the various ways businesses can ‘future-proof’ themselves to prepare for and react to disruptions as they occur. The conference concluded with David Brown’s workshop, examining the challenges facing British growers in meeting demand for Quercus, its currently high importation rate and the practicalities of bringing Quercus growing back into Britain. w

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The interview features

Our people have ownership of their departments which gives them the hunger to drive sales



Following a complete rebrand, Terry Head, retail and marketing director of Stewarts Garden Centres, speaks to GCR about redevelopment, expansion and getting people through the door

COMPANY CV Turnover £13.5m Number of stores 3 Employees 200+

Pictured above (left to right): Terry Head, Jason Carter, Martin Stewart

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How did you get into the industry? Initially through Homebase. I was on a management training scheme on the garden centre side, attending Hadlow College and working in various sites in the south. I did a short spell with Golden Acres, which was my first venture into independent garden centres, and from there went on to Haskins. I was originally based at Ferndown, and moved to Roundstone for four years before going back to

Ferndown where I oversaw the refurbishment of the coffee shop and garden centre. After a further four years at Ferndown the opportunity came up at Stewarts when the retail director retired. I became the head of retail five years ago, and in February 2016 I became the retail and marketing director across all Stewarts sites. What changes have you made and seen in Stewarts? Certainly coming in third

as Best Destination Garden Centre at the GCA awards is one of the biggest changes; Stewarts has never been that high on the scale, so that’s a really great record. Working to rebrand the whole company with Martin Stewart’s daughter Amy has been a big change over the last three years – everything from the logo, the font, the colours, right down to road signage and staff uniforms. Pretty much every fixture and fitting on the Stewarts

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017



16/03/2017 09:57

features The interview

We’re a bricks and mortar site and we still want to drive people through the door. Online is never going to be major for us, but it’s a good tool to attract people to the centre Christchurch and Broomhill sites has been moved around until we felt we’d established our identity. How has introducing click and collect on your website affected business? I’d say on products it’s only garnered small sales figures. It was a way to try and ignite younger customers, a new shop window that’s open 24 hours a day. Most people these days will search online for a product they want and see if they can source it locally, so that’s been a key purpose. It’s had a really good effect on our gift vouchers – we’re up 10% year to date on those, and we now actually sell more of our own vouchers than HTA vouchers, so that’s been really positive. It’s definitely something that’s going to grow going forward. How important do you think having an online offering is for garden centres today? We’re a bricks and mortar site and we still want to drive people through the door. Online is never going to be major for us, but it’s a good tool to attract people to the centre. A big advantage of our online site is click and collect – a selection of our products

are priced and available online, but customers still have to come into the garden centre to collect it, and will hopefully stop in for a cup of coffee while they’re here. Do you think this will become more important over the next few years? I think having some form of online representation is going to become very important. The days of the yellow pages have gone – everybody uses Google to search for and research products, check out prices and see what they can get where. It’s also really useful for marketing your events and activities. We send out a monthly email containing a range of offers and letting our customers know what’s going on at Stewarts. What will your £1.5m redevelopment of Broomhill entail? About 40% of the site is going to be demolished, the existing coffee shop and gift hall going with it. We’re going to develop a full oak-structured coffee shop, where we’re hoping to put in between 200 and 250 covers – nearly double the current size. The kitchens and back of house areas for the coffee shop and catering will

Martin Stewart (left) with Abbey Garden Centre’s centre manager Jackie Avis and the team with Terry Head (right)


Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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also be double the size, and we’ll have an improved gift offering. That’s all stage one. Stage two will involve us hopefully including a local farm or convenience shop if we have the space. That’s all due to start in June 2018 and plans are already well underway. Our main contractors are appointed and now we’re just working on the fine details. When are you aiming to have completed this development? It should be a nine month project. Easter is late in 2019, so we’ll be starting in June 2018 and hoping to be finished by late February 2019, well in time for Easter in April. Do you have any other redevelopment or expansion plans for the near future? I don’t think we want to stop now, I think we’ll always have something going on. At Broomhill we’ve got the new coffee shop, then the village/farm shop, and are redeveloping our nursery so customers will be able to see our growing stock. We want that to become a part of the site. We’ve also got a new building going up for our landscaping side and then we’ll be onto developing the Abbey site. I don’t think there will ever be a time when we aren’t building something. People’s expectations are constantly changing, and competition is always getting stronger so we’ve got no choice but to keep bettering ourselves – but we love it. You’ve only got to look at some of the big multiple garden centres who aren’t investing, and you can see they look tired. As soon as

Stewarts Abbey Garden Centre

you stop investing you start to move backwards very quickly. What made you decide to buy Abbey Garden Centre in Titchfield? We’d always wanted a third site, and had been looking for a long time. The Abbey site came on the market about five years ago, but we walked away as we didn’t feel we were ready for it. We had other projects going on and we were having to swallow the finances of a big catering investment. Abbey came back onto the market about a year ago and we felt the timing was right. It’s a great location, a seven acre site riddled with history with the Abbey behind it – we need a bit of luck with the archaeological side of it, but the team there is absolutely fantastic.

16/03/2017 09:57

The interview features

We give our staff the opportunity to make mistakes and try new things Do you think Stewarts will purchase any more centres in the future? We would like to, but we’ve got to pace ourselves. One of the reasons we’ve walked away from sites in the past is that we felt all our focus would have to go into it, and that would detract from our existing sites. We feel we’ve got the depth now to be able to take on a new site, and we wouldn’t rule out a fourth site. We’d ideally like to acquire another one once we’ve finished the work at Broomhill and started on Abbey.

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What do you think has kept Stewarts successful over the years? Giving our staff the opportunity to make mistakes and try new things, and allowing them to have ownership of their departments so they have that hunger to drive sales. We have a head office of five people and they focus on producing accounts, paying suppliers, paying all of our staff and doing all the admin for the company. The people who run our plant departments are based in that plant department to deliver great service and sales.

It’s the same with our house plants and gifts – everyone who runs those sections, it’s their business. They run it. If it goes wrong, we say it’s fine to make mistakes – retailing is gambling. You’re not always going to get it right, but it’s about how quickly you’re onto it. If you’re running a department and you purchased the stock, you’re going to realise pretty quickly if that stock isn’t selling. We just say: “Deal with it. 10% off now might get you out of trouble, it might have to be half price in a month’s time, so crack on.” It’s so powerful to have your staff running your sections, and they love it. The standard of our departments definitely shows that. Everyone can have an input to their suppliers and select their ranges. There are parameters across the group, but they’re loose parameters. Another positive aspect of Stewarts is that we run our own quarterly magazine, which now has a mailing list of about 38,000. We make sure the magazine only gets sent to customers who have used their Stewarts card within the past 12 months – it’s totally focused on those who do shop with us and who are interested in what we do. We include a few offers in the magazine which are hugely popular, as well as some updates on how we’re doing, what we’re growing and what we’ve got going on. If our customers have drifted away for a few months, the magazine can act as a real incentive to come back into our centres. What will Stewarts have to do to ensure that success continues in the future? I think we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground and not get greedy with our prices. We have to keep investing in our people and invest more in training, as well as making sure we’re keeping the great people we’ve already got

working with us. It’s important that we keep those people’s passion and interest in their work alive. We also need to make sure we offer good value and quality products. I think over the last few years we’ve left the lower end product to the big sheds and multiple retailers and said no, we’re going to sell quality. It may not be the cheapest but we’re going to give the best service, look after our customers and invest in our staff. The analogy we try to use to focus everything we do as a business is that if a couple is in their car at a T-junction deciding where to visit, we’re on the right and every other option they have open to them at that time is on the left – what are we doing to make them turn right? That’s what we’ve got to be good at – why turn right for Stewarts? What do you think will be the main challenges for the industry in the next ten years? How do you plan to overcome them? The fact that everyone is pumping away at our marketplace. We know our remit, we’re not going to go into selling underwear or holidays – we are in the garden centre market fundamentally. Of course, everybody else wants to be in the garden centre market. We’ve just got to be better, and get the balance right between retailing and entertainment. I think some garden centres have fallen more on the side of entertainment, but we are a retailer, we’re bricks and mortar and we need to sell products. We will hold events and entertainment to drive retail, but we’re not retailing to drive entertainment. ◗ CONTACT 01425 272244

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 09:58

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15/03/2017 15:19

Human resources features



There is an obligation to provide all employees with a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment

View HR’s Gemma Murphy goes back to basics and covers the most common HR issues all employers have to deal with


Dismissal All employees with two years’ service are entitled upon request to written reasons for their dismissal, although it is advisable to provide written reasons automatically. If an employee is dismissed whilst pregnant or on maternity, adoption or shared parental leave, you must provide the reasons without the need for them to make a request.

e often find ourselves advising businesses on HR matters that, for various reasons, didn’t seek advice or involve outside resources at an early stage, and instead contacted us when they’re embroiled in a dispute or process which could have been easily avoided. We therefore feel this is a prime time to go back to the beginning, and cover some basic but common queries. Employment contracts There is no legal obligation to provide an employment contract (except for during an apprenticeship). However, there is an obligation to provide all employees with a written statement of their terms and conditions of employment, which contains certain legal information (known as a section 1 statement) and so most employers do this in the form of a contract. The statement must be given within two months of the employee starting work and it doesn’t need to be signed by the employee, although it is good practice. Handbooks and policies As a bare minimum, employers must have a disciplinary policy (and rules), grievance procedure and provide certain information about pensions, unless these matters are already covered in the section 1 statement (although we would

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advise against including full disciplinary and grievance procedures in the statement). If you employ five or more staff members, you are also required to have a health and safety policy. Payslips All employees must be provided with a statement showing their gross and net pay, as well as any deductions, together with the reasons for the deductions (e.g. tax and national insurance). Sick pay Generally, there is no legal right for employees to receive full pay whilst they are off sick. They may however be entitled to receive statutory sick pay (subject to certain eligibility criteria) and, if the contract

provides for it, they may also be entitled to receive contractual sick pay. Statutory sick pay is a specified amount (which is subject to tax and national insurance) available for up to 28 weeks. An employee must earn a certain amount before being eligible for statutory sick pay and it is not payable for the first three days of sickness absence. Notice The amount of notice to be given by either party must be stated in the section 1 statement. If no notice is stated, the minimum period an employee must give is one week, and the minimum you must give an employee is one week for each complete year of service (up to a maximum of 12 weeks).

References Generally, there is no legal obligation for an employer to provide a reference. There are exceptions to this rule, for example if there is a contractual obligation or if a refusal to provide a reference is discriminatory. It is possible to give a bad reference, but only if you genuinely believe it to be true and accurate, and you have reasonable grounds for that belief. There is no obligation to provide a comprehensive reference, but any information you do give must not be misleading. If in doubt, check. ◗ CONTACT

View HR is a HR and employment law consultancy, providing businesses with specialist guidance and independent support. 01425 205 391, 07496 308 540

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 10:58

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15/03/2017 15:23

Social media features



GCR speaks to Social Retail Group founder and CEO Pete Doyle for his expert view on best practice in social media marketing, and how building relationships with customers is more beneficial than traditional marketing avenues

As social media becomes increasingly prevalent in everyday life for consumers, marketing through social media has emerged as an inexpensive and comparatively quick method of reaching and engaging with the public. Despite offering a direct and powerful line of communication, the garden centre industry has been relatively slow to take advantage of its potential compared with other retail groups such supermarkets and fashion. The benefits The key advantages of social media marketing, states Pete, are cost, communication and flexibility: “Social media is a much cheaper advertising channel compared to local radio or local press. Another plus of social media marketing is that it’s two way, whereas radio, press and outdoor media are all one way. Being two way is an important aspect of social media marketing – you can get feedback almost in real time, alter your campaign throughout a day or rotate different campaigns however you’d like. Specifically with Facebook and Twitter advertising, you can test, change and rotate different copy, whereas before in traditional media a business was committed to one copy and had no way of altering it once it was out in distribution. Social media marketing is a lot more flexible and agile than traditional methods of marketing.” Starting out on social media Pete’s advice for garden centres looking to start marketing in social media is to utilise it initially for customer feedback: “If a garden centre starts by asking who’s shopped with them recently and asking for open feedback, they can start to change and improve by listening to their customers and learning what they want.” Best practice “I think the main function and best use of social media marketing is to create a relationship with your customers,” Pete explains. “You do that by developing a conversation, not by broadcasting or shouting at them. To be effective, garden centres need to understand their customers’ gardens; nowadays with social media, it would be very easy for a customer to send a picture of their garden and ask for advice or ideas.

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You can test, change and rotate different copy. Social media marketing is more flexible and agile than traditional methods of marketing “Garden centres tend to limit their social media marketing to outbound broadcasting for promotions, deals and products. I haven’t seen any of them say: ‘We’d love to see a picture of your garden’, and have a conversation or picture exchange in which they can advise customers which plants or products would do well in which section of that garden.” Best practice also encompasses social awareness and an appropriate tone, continues Pete: “If you’re using hashtags in your campaign for example, it’s important to research that hashtag first to see who’s using it and gauge the sensitivity of it. The tone in social media marketing is also slightly different, it does have to be less formal. It can still be professional – formal language should still be used, but it should be more humble. Companies and brands that are humble are the ones that consumers tend to engage with.” On how the industry can improve its social media marketing, Pete says: “There’s a lot of broadcasting and information sharing in garden centre social media, but there’s a lot of opportunities that aren’t being seized. I think what we need to see over the next few years is the marketing departments of garden centres looking at how they can engage better with their customers, and how can they ask more questions over social media rather than just advertising a product. Sales will increase as those relationships are built.” w CONTACT

Pete Doyle is founder and CEO of Social Retail Group. @socialretail

Garden Centre Retail March/April 201721

16/03/2017 11:03

features Suppliers


GCR speaks to national Salesforce channel manager of SBM Life Science, Scott Williams, and assistant manager of Garsons Esher, Nikki Macey, about what it takes to sustain a successful working relationship between a garden centre and its suppliers


oth Nikki and Scott agree: a good working relationship is critical for garden centres and their suppliers to succeed as businesses. “Garden centres are the conduit between ourselves and the consumer,” explains Scott. “We can learn a lot from their feedback, and we can only get honest, constructive feedback if we have a positive working relationship.” Nikki agrees: “Without a good relationship with our suppliers, we’d be unable to offer our customers the vast variety of products we do. It’s an essential part of our business.” Reliability and flexibility from a supplier is paramount for the relationship to run smoothly, Nikki states: “Quality products and competitive pricing is also vital, as are regular product range updates and innovative designs. We also expect our suppliers to have high quality reps and fast delivery times, as well as good

Commercial relationships are built on people working well together, which means communicating 22

stock levels for reordering – the minimum being out of stock at peak times is obviously helpful for any garden centre.” Scott attests SBM Life Science’s positive relationships with its garden centre stockists to its commitment to going the extra mile, which he believes should be expected from everyone: “Every supplier should provide the basics, including effective products, a strong product development pipeline that addresses consumers’ wants, and certainty of supply, all backed by responsive service. If the relationship is going to be really productive, however, garden centres should look for something more than the basics. They should expect their supplier to take the time to get to know their business and work creatively by their side to drive sales.” Good communication is a key component to a successful relationship, Scott continues: “Relationships are between people, not companies. At the heart of every good relationship is communication – garden centres should feel that their supplier has taken the time to get to know their business, their pressures and priorities. That way a positive and constructive dialogue can be maintained.” The ability to resolve issues in the relationship is also critical for healthy working relationships to continue, as problems will naturally occur

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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Scot t

W illia


over extended periods of time working together, says Nikki: “We’ve had ongoing issues with our suppliers in terms of booking into the warehouse, for example. With the extent of stock we have coming in and out, it affects some of our key processes within the garden centre that we need to run well, so it can be a big problem; but we’ve always been able to speak to our reps about the issues honestly and work together to resolve them. As a whole we have very good relationships with our suppliers, which is why they remain to be our suppliers.” From a supplier’s point of view, Scott agrees that the ability to speak honestly and easily with garden centres – and ensure they are able to do the same – is imperative to resolving potential issues. “Negative relationships are draining and difficult, and we all get hurt commercially,”

Without a good relationship with our suppliers, we’d be unable to offer our customers the vast variety of products we do Nik k i M

a c ey

explains Scott. “There will always be some hiccups; we’re human and people make mistakes. Recognising the problem and acting quickly to fix it means the relationship will not only be unharmed but probably strengthened. Great commercial relationships are built on people working well together, which means communicating. If one of my customers wasn’t happy for any reason or had a concern, I would want them to pick up the phone to me straight away – we can’t fix it if we don’t know about it.” ◗ CONTACT

Scott Williams is national Salesforce channel manager of SBM Life Science. Nikki Macey is assistant manager of Garsons Esher.

16/03/2017 10:18

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15/03/2017 15:25

features The future


GCR speaks to Malcolm Scott Consultants’ Chris Primett on what he predicts will shape the future of the industry, and what garden centres can do to face it head on

What will shape the evolution of garden centres? “We need to think about the changing demographic in the UK when we think about how garden centres can and should change in the future,” states Chris. “According to the Office of National Statistics, we’re looking at a 38% population increase in the over 60s age bracket over the next twenty years, compared to a 3% increase in under 60s.”

Chris also forecasts that town planning will affect the future of the industry: “The government has been trying to push retailing back into the high street, but I think given the current climate and uncertainty in regards to Brexit, that will change. My feeling is that central government is going to encourage local planning authorities to approve development that creates

We’re looking at a 38% population increase in the over 60s age bracket over the next twenty years, compared to a 3% increase in under 60s

jobs and economic prosperity. It feels very similar to 2010; two years after the recession began, the advice from government was to approve any development that helped with jobs and prosperity, as long as it was sustainable.” A final consideration for predicting how garden centres will change in the future is the housing crisis, says Chris: “The housing crisis is a priority that all councils have at the moment, and it will have an effect on the size of the average garden. If a council is building 30 housing units per hectare, with net migration running at around 300,000 people a year, it’s not hard to see that the average garden size will go down, with increasing numbers of people having no garden at all. That will obviously affect garden centres if they don’t diversify.”

How can garden centres prepare themselves for the future? With the aging population growing by such a high percentage, Chris advises garden centres to focus on the needs of that age group, and incorporate more goods and services that meet their needs. “Garden centres could consider offering yoga, spa health treatments and products that keep consumers looking younger,” Chris proposes. “In a sense that’s linked to plants, because plants are seen as having health improving properties. It will all need to revolve around health, wellbeing and leisure that targets the expanding over 60s customer base.” Though not disinclined to the initiative to encourage younger people into gardens, Chris recommends garden

“Garden centres, if they are leisure destinations,need to be investing in


Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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16/03/2017 09:49

The future features

The housing crisis is a priority that all councils have at the moment, and it will have an effect on the size of the average garden centres keep over 60s at the forefront of budget and stock decisions, and keep them in mind when diversifying or expanding. “Garden centre owners could also consider ideas like integrating a garden designed for people with dementia,” suggests Chris. “Also, looking carefully at catering for that age group is going to be important for the success of our future garden centres.” When considering future trends in building design, Chris believes garden centres will prioritise creating an enjoyable retail experience, as this will become an increasingly important motive for their customers to visit. “Garden centres, if they are leisure destinations, need to be investing in facilities and buildings that create a pleasurable experience,”

Chris explains. “I’ve certainly seen in the garden centres I’m working with – such as Garsons in Esher and Highfield Garden World – that facilities they’ve developed over the last two or three years have become exceedingly popular, and part of that has been down to the design of the building.” The perception of garden centres as relaxing, enjoyable destinations will be even more critical for success in the future than it currently is, Chris asserts, as the point of difference this creates between garden centres and the high street will be valued more highly by customers. Garden centre owners will therefore have some difficult decisions to make on how much they invest in creating a leisurely environment, including the design of their buildings and interiors.

What will garden centres look like in the future? Over the next three years, Chris predicts that the industry is unlikely to experience any momentous change, as garden centres continue to focus on developing their coffee shop or restaurant offerings. In the longer term however, Chris reiterates the importance of the attracting over 60s and catering to their needs. “Opportunities to learn new ‘non-gardening’ skills such as painting, stone or wood carving, pottery making, meditation, dancing and more may be added to the garden centre’s core plant business,” Chris says. “Bigger car parks may be required to accommodate increased length of stay. Within the shop there may be a need for more space for customers to meet and interact, with wider

aisles and more seating areas for relaxing.” The layout of future garden centres is also likely to undergo significant change, says Chris: “My view is that garden centres will evolve to fragment their floor space and create more of a ‘shop within a shop’ feeling.” It is probable, Chris states, that this change will come as a result of the need to retain points of difference: “As garden centres physically get bigger and more customers shop with them, they will need to find a way to keep the intimate scale that has made them appealing to their consumers. The danger is that a larger garden centre will turn off customers who came to them in the first place because they were accessible, enjoyable and easy to shop in.” ◗

ng in facilities and buildings that create a pleasurable experience” CONTACT

Chris Primett is a consultant at Malcolm Scott Consultants. www.malcolmscottcons.

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Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 09:49

features Brexit


OR BUST? The terms and conditions of Brexit have yet to be ironed out and its effects yet to be felt. GCR speaks to Ferndale’s Neil Grant about how he feels our divorce from Europe could affect the garden centre industry


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Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

16/03/2017 09:40

Brexit features


he result of last year’s referendum has led to uncertainty across the garden centre industry and the country as a whole. With no way of knowing how potential changes to plant prices, European worker statuses or regulations for imports will pan out, director of Ferndale Garden Centre and HTA Yorkshire representative Neil Grant urges garden centres to remain calm, and reminds us of the adaptability and resilience of the industry that will be – and always has been – key to its survival. “At the moment I don’t think retail has been badly impacted,” states Neil on the effect of the referendum. “There’s been some price rises, and I expect there’ll be interesting buying prices for Christmas next year from suppliers. I think the nursery and catering sides of the industry will probably feel the biggest effect in the long run because they hire a lot of Eastern European staff, and we don’t know yet whether European workers will be allowed to stay. Theresa May has said that they’ll be allowed to remain if British citizens are allowed to stay in Europe, so we’ll have to see how that goes.” Though the effects of Brexit are yet to be felt, Neil conceded that there have been a few changes: “The plant prices have gone up in Holland at the moment, but they had come down a lot previously, and five years ago the Euro to the pound was very similar so this isn’t the first time we’ve experienced this kind of change.” Neil’s advice to everyone, from suppliers to industry workers, worried about Brexit is not to be disheartened:

“I think we shouldn’t get too depressed. It’s going to happen and we have to learn how to deal with it. We’re an adaptable and resilient industry, we’ve had to be for years, and weather will always have more of an impact than Brexit on retail sales. If we have a lovely spring we won’t even notice anything’s changed with Brexit.” Brexit won’t be the first challenge the industry has gone through, reminds Neil, and it won’t be the last: “Since Ferndale Garden Centre began in 1982 we’ve had the miners’ strike and three recessions – none of which were as bad as the last one. You just have to be resilient. You have to make hay when the sun shines, that’s the way of business. We’ve seen some changes in VAT during the early parts of the recession which caused some issues. The recession itself was much deeper than we realised, particularly in the north, when the northern industrial towns and cities were pretty much almost wiped out at the time.” Weather can never be underestimated in determining the success of the industry, adds Neil, as can be seen reflected in sales this year: “The stress on the industry always comes when the weather is bad. Take last April – I represent Yorkshire for the HTA, and found there were garden centres in the Yorkshire region that were 25-50% down on the previous April. That’s obviously a worry, because they then have to get that profit back in May, and though May was very good this year I know a few centres didn’t pull it all the way back. Those sudden changes can have a greater effect than Brexit could have, I think.”

I honestly don’t think we’ll see any of the differences trade-wise that some people have been predicting

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Weather will always have more of an impact than Brexit on retail sales

Neil predicts that there will be unavoidable changes in the industry as a direct result of Brexit, but that a problemsolving attitude should be taken to this: “I think what we’ll see is, depending on what happens with labour coming into the nurseries and so on, plant prices may be affected because if we lose European workers we’ll need British people to get off their backsides, and they’ll want to be paid more which will up plant prices. Saying that, my honest opinion is that plants are undervalued anyway, and that they’ve never really been the right price. I suspect we’ll also see different places of supply come in – we may see manufactured products coming not from Europe but from around Europe. I honestly don’t think we’ll see any of the differences trade-wise that some people have been predicting. We may have experienced a dip this year, but if the sun comes out we’ll be busy, and if the sun stays in or the winter is long, particularly up north, we won’t be.” Brexit may also bring with it some much-needed positives for the industry, states Neil: “I think Brexit will make us more

focused as an industry on what’s important. We’ll need to find alternatives ways of doing things, look at methods for making our costs work for us and, most importantly, recognise what customers need and try to provide it. “The HTA has done an amazing amount of research on customer types, partly based around age but primarily on lifestyles and interests – there’s all sorts of information that shows some people don’t do much in their garden because they don’t have the experience. A lot of them have the money but not the experience or the time, so we’ve got to start making it easier for people. We should have been doing this as an industry anyway, so maybe Brexit will encourage people to actually look at their customers and consumers and help them have a better gardening experience.” ◗ CONTACT

Neil Grant is director of Ferndale Garden Centre and HTA Yorkshire representative. www.ferndalegarden

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 09:40

features Merchandising


GCR hears from Visual Thinking founder Karl McKeever about the importance of smart selection in a garden centre’s general merchandise, tips for maximising shopper engagement and what success will look like in the future for the industry


eneral merchandising has become an increasingly important commodity for garden centres, says Karl, allowing space for differentiation and specialisms that strengthen the identity of the centre when approached correctly. “I think garden centres need to thoroughly understand the kind of merchandise offer they want, and how it’s beneficial to their overall business and brand,” Karl advises. “Different garden centres have different specialisms, from trees to landscaping and indoor or outdoor plants. It’s important to ensure that the merchandise is complementary to what the centre itself is all about. Essentially every garden centre should ensure it has a clear focus and purpose, and that visiting members of the public understand what they can find there. Merchandise plays a big role in that.” Specialisms Customers visiting garden centres expect a level of competence and expertise within that centre’s specialism, says Karl, which can be a great way of differentiating a business from its competitors. “If garden centres are all selling the same merchandise it becomes a case of ‘survival of the fittest’,” explains Karl. “To avoid that, garden centres need to look at their competitors, see what opportunities there are to offer what isn’t already being offered elsewhere, and differentiate themselves accordingly.”

The need for a specialism is dependent on three factors: location, circumstances and size 28

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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16/03/2017 10:21

Merchandising features Karl proposes that the need for a specialism within a garden centre is dependent on three factors: “Location, circumstances and size. A smaller centre, rather than trying to be a Jack of all trades and master of none, would be better off looking for a specialism that is locally relevant and separates them from competitors. Larger garden centres may be able to afford extensive ranges of product categories and may not require that niche.” Success in a garden centre looks markedly different in the modern day, states Karl, largely led by industry investment and customer expectations: “There is now much more of a demand for a broad range of competence within a garden centre, not just in the core aspects of horticulture but also in a restaurant or food offering.” Customers are seeking additional services from their retail outlets, creating opportunities for garden centres to expand their offering to meet these demands. Garden centres that fail to recognise or address this may find themselves left behind as the industry shifts to a more holistic, allencompassing horticultural service, explains Karl: “Where garden centres have a huge opportunity is packaging this up and delivering more home service functions, whereby staff aren’t just recommending what to grow in a customer’s garden, but coming out and doing the planting for them, or providing regular maintenance. As in most areas of retail, the customer has ever-rising expectations; when they find a garden centre that is leading the way in providing the products and services they require, expectations are raised, and all garden centres must match the benchmark if they want to stay in the game.” Success in future for garden centres will therefore be based on their ability to make connections between

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Garden centres can build on their reputation of being horticultural experts that provide goods and a nice day out into a more formalised service offering installation, maintenance or management of gardens

Haskins, Ferndown: Focusing on retail best practice and visual merchandising training has seen sales fl ourish

the purchase of products and the expertise and hard labour services that complement them, Karl asserts: “Consumers are going to find these services increasingly attractive, especially as they get older and less able to carry out garden work themselves. Garden centres can build on their reputation of being horticultural experts that provide goods and a nice day out into a more formalised service offering installation, maintenance or management of gardens.” The easiest option Customers’ lack of time and expertise is driving the need for garden centre labour services and will, Karl predicts, also lead customers to increasingly search for quick and easy product collection purchases. Karl explains: “If you think of how the grocery market has changed in the past five years, what’s driven a lot of growth in supermarkets is promotional deals in which combinations of products go for one price. Supermarkets recognise that their consumers are time-poor and looking for new ideas for what to eat. Putting together

meal combinations with, for example, lesser known ingredients from around the world, or putting together a starter and a main, makes it easier to shop. Customers are looking for that easy option, and will choose to shop at supermarkets that provide it.” A need for ease and speed is just as important for garden centre customers, asserts Karl, particularly as many people are novices or lack expertise in gardening and plants: “Customers are looking for ideas, and are often a bit lazy or nervous to put together, for example, their own plant collections from scratch. If centres can put several plants or products together in a package deal with colour or foliage themes, those are the kinds of good ideas that can really pay dividends.” For maximum retail performance, Karl advises garden centres to always consider seasonality in their displays: “In the same way that the seasons are always changing, so should the general merchandise in the garden centre. Garden centres should ensure their displays are always seasonally relevant.”

Regularly decluttering should be another key focus, Karl continues, which he feels is overlooked by a lot of garden centres currently: “Garden centres can be poor at taking on board lots of fixtures like spinners, racks and POP units – before you know it, what started off as a clean, easy to navigate layout becomes congested with a minefield of obstacles. Garden centre owners should scrutinise their shop floors every six months at least. It’s important that garden centres even more so than other retailers are easy to navigate, because customers could have heavy shopping trolleys full of awkwardly shaped items. It’s important to make sure that shoppers are safe and can move easily throughout the whole centre.” Teamwork The importance of training a garden centre team in the essentials of good merchandising should also never be underestimated, Karl says: “High street stores are experts at this and spend a great deal of time and money ensuring their teams are the best they can be, creating great displays and making the shop standards extremely high. I think it’s fair to say that high merchandising standards haven’t always been at the forefront of garden centre owners’ thinking – it’s not just about investing in new merchandising products, you also have to invest in display standards to compete with high street stores. It’s really about a balance in thinking – yes, you need great products, but you also need great display standards as well. That’s where training your team members can really add great value to your garden centre for little extra cost.” ◗ CONTACT

Karl McKeever is founder of Visual Thinking.

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 10:21

new seasons ahead.

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15/03/2017 15:28

Events features

Every staff member involved should have a role to play, and should be talking to friends, family and customers about the event


GCR talks to Burleydam Garden Centre director Sally Cornelissen about key considerations when hosting an event, including tips for success and the common pitfalls garden centres can fall into...

Birdbox painting in spring is messy but great fun for children

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Hosting events can be beneficial in all kinds of different ways, states Sally, but predominantly they can provide a much-needed point of difference for a garden centre: “Events can be what separates you from your competitors. We always feel that it's important to build a community around a garden centre, for customers to feel it's their garden centre and therefore that they're invited to the events that the centre puts on.” On a pragmatic level, Sally continues, a successful event will also drive footfall: “Events can be used to manipulate footfall through the centre. In October for example, your Christmas displays are up but footfall isn't particularly high, so an event can draw customers in, make them take

a look around the displays and tell their friends and family about it, increasing the likelihood of more visits. Events should also increase your sales – either directly with events like flower arranging whereby guests will be purchasing the products they're using, or simply by exposing them to the promotions and stock that you have in store at that time.” Key considerations Whether your objective is to increase footfall in your centre, encourage a new type of customer to visit or to reward your loyal customers, it's key that the objective is made clear from the planning stages of an event. One example of an event with an obvious objective can be found at the annual Burleydam Tea Dance: “We have a lot of elderly customers at Burleydam that don't particularly spend a lot, but who are very loyal and always visit the centre,” says Sally. “We found that they often talked about not having much to do in the evenings. We decided to hold a 'Tea Dance' event for our older customers, who all get up to have a dance and really enjoy themselves. The event doesn’t make us any money – we cover our costs with the ticket price, but it's about rewarding our customers and letting them know that we care about them.” A Christmas promotions evening around the festive è

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


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features Concessions period is another example of a clear objective, with centres wanting their customers to browse and purchase. Burleydam also holds children's events with the objective of getting young people into gardening. Tips for success “The best thing we ever did for our events at Burleydam was put together a planning committee,” Sally states. “The committee includes a lot of different members of staff. We've got people from the shop floor, and staff involved in housekeeping and table clearing in the committee; we were amazed at the response we got from staff who wanted to take part, and who had skills and contacts we never would have known about. We've got a really varied and resourceful committee which comes up with a lot of ideas and plans every detail.” Once the planning stage is complete, Sally advises that it’s critical to get staff on board: “Every staff member involved in the event should have a role to play, and should be talking to their friends, family and customers about the event.” Marketing can make all the difference, continues Sally: “You should let your customers know about the event in as many ways as you can, from talking to people in the centre, putting up posters in places like the café and the back of the toilet doors, Facebook, Twitter, emails – any way you can to get the word out.”

‘Bouncy Bunny’ competition promotes animal health and encourages high footfall


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When the event is over, Sally recommends garden centres review every aspect of it as soon as possible, from what went well to what could be improved and what didn’t work. “If something hasn't gone well, you can discuss why it didn't and make sure it never happens again,” Sally explains. “You can also discuss what was successful, what customers enjoyed and whether you'd repeat the event again.” The review process should always involve staff members that were at the event, as they can provide accurate feedback, says Sally: “We've only had a disappointing event once, and following that we had an emergency meeting to go over what went wrong. That was really useful, because what I originally thought had been the problem turned out not to have been – in fact it was a lot of small things rather than the overall event. Those small things were easy to rectify, we just hadn't focused on them enough in the planning stages. We learned that going forward these things were essential to keep in mind for future events. You can't call anything a failure if you learn from it.” Balancing costs with profi ts “When it comes to profit, there are three types of event,” Sally says. “The first is an event you know you're going to get sales from – for example, a Christmas open evening. You know you'll be making a lot of money on the night so can afford to spend on resources. “The second type of event is one that isn't necessarily going to bring any money in on the night, but will have a positive long term effect such as building loyalty and driving return business. For those events, you've got to be prepared to see it as an investment in your business and put it down on your marketing budget, which is obviously tax deductible. “The last event type is one that has a charity element, where a garden centre will

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

Encourage your own staff to demonstrate their skills: Ian, head chef, gives a cookery demonstration

It's not always as simple as covering your costs or making profit with an event – sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture put some money into it – and centres should be very careful about what they put in – and all proceeds will go to a chosen charity or cause. You have to balance the money spent with the marketing and publicity opportunities that linking with the charity will create for you. It's not always as simple as covering your costs or making profit with an event – sometimes you have to look at the bigger picture.” Risks of a failed event If a garden centre hosts a failed event, it can risk bad publicity, damage of integrity and bad morale for their staff, says Sally: “These days on social media people can be very quick to put a bad review up online. Bad events can be damaging to a garden centre's prestige and standing in the community, and if promises made to charities aren't followed through on that can have a terrible backlash." Common mistakes On the pitfalls garden centres often slip into when hosting events, Sally advises that most can be avoided by thinking carefully through every step of the organisation process. “We held a fashion show

event a few years ago where we focused so much on the fashion side of it that we didn't think enough about the organisation: how guests were going to be greeted, who was going to seat them, etc.” Sally explains. “Because of that lack of organisation our guests started off quite twitchy and unsure, which didn't get the event off to a good start. Think things through right from the beginning, from how you're going to market the event and sell your tickets, to what you're going to say to people at the end of the event.” A final aspect to be wary of with an event is ticket price, says Sally: “People don't expect to get something for nothing, but they don't expect to pay restaurant prices. That won't translate to a value-for-money ticket in a garden centre, so you need to make sure you're don't get greedy with your ticket prices.” ◗ CONTACT

Sally Cornelissen is director of Burleydam Garden Centre. www.burleydam

16/03/2017 09:47

Internet features


GCR talks to Summit’s head of online marketing, Dave Trolle, about the competition online shopping poses and how garden centres can not just compete but use the internet to their advantage


he threat of online shopping to bricks and mortar retailers has spread rapidly since its inception in the Eighties. The modern consumer has a variety of channels they can use to shop from the comfort of their own homes or whilst on the move, including smartphones, tablets and laptops, making visiting a retail site an option rather than a necessity. The internet’s effect on retail Online shopping continues to be an incredibly popular method of purchasing products and services, says Dave, made all the more attractive by technological advancements that make  CompetingWithInternet.indd 33

the process quicker and easier. “The modern day customer has a much busier life than previous generations,” Dave explains. “Online shopping provides a method of purchasing that isn’t restricted by opening times or the distance a customer is from a retail outlet. Nowadays, buying a product is only a few clicks away on a smartphone, which in itself has revolutionised the retail market. Retailers need to consider the internet very seriously, and ensure they’re doing everything they can to remain a competitive, attractive alternative to online shopping for their customers.” What is key with regards to the web and online

Excellent customer service and a high quality food offering is what garden centres need to focus on to ensure they’re offering something that the internet can’t shopping is for garden centre retailers to start thinking differently about how they’re operating, Dave says: “What the internet has done in a sense is bring a new shop to the market for all retailers to compete with, but it can also be used to complement a garden centre’s existing business. The reality is that a lot of retailers see the internet solely as their competition, because when they look at their customer journey they don’t consider that a lot of people will research a product online to later purchase it offline in an outlet, and vice versa.” This addition to the customer journey should be carefully considered, states Dave: “It’s one of the biggest trends that we’ve seen at Summit, and we try to make sure that all of our clients are aware of that element of the customer journey. There is a need for retailers to have a more holistic approach in how they operate.

The internet can drive revenue or take it away; success for a retailer today and in the future will depend on its understanding of the internet, and how the business can use it to its advantage.” An example of the advantages the internet can offer is the ability to reach a different audience, which is a huge opportunity for garden centres: “One of the benefits of marketing online is that a garden centre can really target its desired audience and measure its success in reaching them. Other forms of advertising such as TV ads are more expensive and don’t allow businesses to accurately record their audience engagement.” Social media in particular can be immensely advantageous for a garden centre, Dave explains: “Social media allows garden centres to see who is engaging with them and who might be interested in hearing about them, as well as opening a two-way channel for garden centres to establish a relationship with their customers through answering questions and responding to feedback quickly and inexpensively.” 

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features Internet

Customers want to visit and get inspiration for their gardens, and the retail experience that garden centres offer gives them an edge that the internet can’t match What can garden centres offer that the internet can’t? “People who visit garden centres, as the industry knows, aren’t necessarily going specifically to buy a product,” Dave says. “They go for the full experience – it’s a trip out to have a look around with your friends and family, and perhaps get a coffee or something to eat while you’re there.” Giving customers what the internet can’t should always be a key focus for garden centres, Dave continues: “Inspiring your customers and keeping them coming with good retail standards, excellent customer service and a high quality food

offering is what garden centres need to focus on to ensure they’re offering something that the internet can’t. If your customers see your centre as a destination and enjoy the experience of visiting, they will keep coming back and spending money regardless of their online shopping habits.” Customer service and experience are the main advantages garden centres have over the internet, Dave continues, both of which should be maximised to draw in customers and remain competitive with online. “More and more on the internet we’re seeing

the emergence of live chats that offer a more humanised shopping experience and level of customer service to online shoppers,” Dave explains. “But that’s never going to match the experience of physically going into a garden centre, or being able to ask a staff member face to face for their advice, or for information about a product you’re considering purchasing. I think that human touch will always draw in customers – even with the best how-to videos and fastest live chat system, a web page just can’t offer that one on one experience and expert advice that a garden centre can.”

Garden centres are in fact better positioned than most retailers against online shopping competition, states Dave, because customers aren’t visiting garden centres to simply buy a product. “Some of the retailers we work with are in much harsher competition with the internet,” Dave explains. “Companies that sell digital cameras, for example, have customers who will look at their products, go online and find it for a cheaper price. If you think about the products that garden centres sell, it’s often not as straightforward to purchase them online; customers want to visit and get inspiration for their gardens, and the retail experience that garden centres offer gives them an edge that the internet can’t match.” What the future holds Although garden centres provide a level of service and experience that surpasses online shopping channels, Dave warns there is a need for garden centres to establish an online presence to remain current and relevant. “There are customers who will circumvent the internet and purely buy offline, such as the current older generation,” states Dave. “However, this will decay over time as the older, less tech-savvy generation of customers are replaced by those who grew up with the internet. Garden centres will need to ensure they have some form of internet presence to remain relevant.” Increasingly in future years, retailers who don’t have an omnichannel approach to budget and planning will find their business suffers as a result, Dave cautions, with prosperity coming to those that take advantage of marketing tactics with online platforms. w CONTACT

Dave Trolle is head of online marketing at Summit.


Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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16/03/2017 09:42

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08/03/2017 09:02 15/03/2017 15:49

features Concessions Pets Corner concession

Edinburgh Woollen Mill concession


GCR speaks to Keith McIntyre, managing director at concession specialists First Franchise, and partner of garden centre and retail property consultants Gilbert Evans, Mike Gilbert, about the potential benefits and considerations involved in incorporating concessions A garden centre owner considering adding a concession to their business has three main options, Keith explains: “There's manned concessions, where a brand wants to trade from the garden centre site and has a legal agreement that governs the use of the space within the centre. The brand has its own staff and till. For example, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, The Works and Pets Corner are all manned garden centre concessions. “Next you have unmanned concessions, which is effectively a brand that comes into the garden centre, controls the inventory and sets up its own stands, displays and products, but has no

staff operating on site. In this instance the garden centre takes the money for the products sold and refunds this back to the brand, retaining a commission. “Short term concessions are your third option, which are companies that set up in a garden centre for a set period of time, such as a weekend or season. These usually operate via a license agreement. Typical short term concessions include car companies and insurance businesses.” There is a vast variety of concessions available for garden centres to consider, and Keith believes every garden centre could benefit from a concession – provided it’s selected correctly. “I

Concessions aren’t about filling garden centres with retailers, it’s about matching retailers to the centre's customer demographic


Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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struggle to think of why a garden centre wouldn't have a concession,” Keith says. “My view is that you’re forming a partnership; the right partner has to bring benefits to a garden centre, and there will be a concession that will work for any garden centre's circumstances. A traditional horticultural garden centre, for example, may not suit a clothes and footwear concession, but a building or landscape concession would be highly beneficial for the business.” Considerations Selecting a concession can be complex. Mike advises a good first step can be to seek professional guidance: “Garden centres should be prepared to spend money on good consultants and lawyers when considering opening a new concession. It’s always money well spent.” Keith concurs that a professional opinion in the early stages can make all the difference in ensuring a concession partnership is

successful: “At First Franchise we have specialists with areas of expertise – for example, we have a farm shop specialist who is our authority on local produce and everything farm shop related. If a garden centre wanted to set up a farm shop concession and came to us, we would send in our specialist to analyse the potential of the local market and which products the concession would be selling.“ For garden centres contemplating building a concession partnership, Keith recommends focusing on the centre’s existing – and desired – customer base: “Concessions aren’t about filling garden centres with retailers, it’s about trying to match retailers to the centre's customer demographic, or targeting those customers the garden centre wants to appeal to. A concession will bring in a certain customer, which can transform a garden centre; for example, bringing in children's allied concessions will attract families.”

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Concessions features The Works concession

Elveden Estate farm shop

Reduction in overheads is another benefit, as concessions will usually be charged separately for heating and lighting Planning permission is another factor that should be taken into account early on, says Mike, as is a thorough look into the current business of the potential concession. A garden centre should always ensure the brand is financially strong to begin with. “A lot of concession rentals are tied into turnover,” Mike explains. “There will be a base rent plus a top up, which is always good from the garden centre owner’s perspective because they can see how well the concession is trading. If it isn't trading, a garden centre can move them out and a new one in, provided there's a break clause within the agreement.” A concession’s role within a garden centre should never be to provide rental income, but to make the space it fills more efficient and attractive to a new customer base. A successful concession requires a garden centre to have a full understanding of their customers, their business, and which concessions will suit their specific retail environment,

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says Keith: “Failures are usually down to a concession being the wrong fit.” Issues A garden centre shouldn't have any issues with a concession if it's approached properly, states Mike: “The garden centre owner has to recognise that there will be another retailer trading on their site – they have to get on with each other and agree up front what to sell and what not to sell. Conflict and competition can arise if it's not made clear at the beginning, which is why solicitors and professional advice are so important.” A common mistake garden centres make with concessions is where to place them, Keith warns: “Garden centres occasionally think they can allocate space just because it happens to be vacant, but this won’t maximise the turnover potential, and the partnership is likely to suffer as a result.” Legal agreements are another particularly crucial factor to get right, Keith

continues, but can lead to difficulties: “My opinion is that a legal agreement should be in place before a concession is set up within a garden centre, but we still see garden centres with concessions on site that don't have the correct legal agreements with them, or that have allowed their previous agreement to lapse. That can lead to all sorts of problems.” Benefi ts A successful concession can bring with it a variety of benefits, says Keith: “The right concession will bring specialisation in their field, which is why the majority of garden centres start looking for concessions in the first place. The companies that we represent are well known household names whose partnership as a concession should help the garden centre achieve a higher status, and they're certainly going to be driving footfall. These companies are expecting to realistically turnover hundreds of thousands of pounds within

their concessions, which will in itself generate thousands of additional customers. “Additional income is clearly a huge benefit,” Mike agrees. “Reduction in overheads is another benefit, as concessions will usually be charged separately for heating and lighting. A good concession should also help to balance out seasonal variations in turnover. If the concession offers something that the garden centre didn't offer previously, this will improve the customer's experience, giving them a larger diversity of products or services. The right concession will increase the profile of the garden centre they're inhabiting.” ◗ CONTACT

Keith McIntyre is managing director of First Franchise. Mike Gilbert is partner of Gilbert Evans.

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 09:44

features Circus



Happy’s Circus tours the UK and is available for bookings at garden centres over the summer and Christmas periods. GCR speaks to director of promotions, Pat Holmes, about the options available, and how Happy’s Circus can bring in more customers


ou can never have enough customers,” Pat says. “And booking Happy’s Circus will attract more customers to a garden centre, particularly in the school holidays, when parents are looking for places to go to entertain their children.” Happy’s Circus offers three one-hour shows per day, with a seating capacity of up to 600 people per show. Pat advises that the garden centre needs to promote the show, both in house and online. Happy’s Circus can assist with posters, copy and images. “A garden centre can cover the fixed price of the show through ticket sales and generate additional profit,” Pat continues. “And that’s without the benefit of an increase in customers. Another benefit to having Happy’s Circus is


that the Big Top looks very impressive, making the garden centre a focal point for the local community and beyond.” Pat also advises garden centres to consider maximising potential sales by linking circus bookings with promotional offers. “When we attended Shoots Garden Centre, they included a 10% discount voucher with their circus tickets. Shoots told us that the restaurant increased its turnover during our stay as many visitors to the circus decided to get food before and after the show. Our Christmas show in 2005 at Shoots Washington, now owned by Squire’s, won an award in Garden Centre Retail for the most imaginative Christmas promotion.” “Our advance team arrives on site 30 minutes ahead of

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

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Having a circus looks very impressive and makes the garden centre a focal point for the local community and beyond the circus convoy,” explains Pat. “They liaise with the designated point of contact and mark out where the Big Top will be built up, which takes around two hours. We bring our own generators, and need access to an outside water supply and a 13 amp electricity source for domestic use. When we leave we pull down in one and a half hours. We’re not like other circuses; we have no articulated lorries and are designed to go up and down very quickly.” Though Happy’s Circus will travel anywhere in the UK providing the booking is cost effective, there are a few requirements for the site, states Pat: “We need 50m2 of flat grass to build the big top, and for our vehicles, accommodation and trailers. We need the garden centre to provide toilets and parking, and we also need to stay on site overnight, but no licences are required.”

“The cost of booking Happy’s Circus varies - it depends on which days are booked, and whether they’re consecutive,” Pat explains. “At Christmas we prefer to lower the daily cost and agree a profit share. We advise garden centres to set the ticket prices for the show between £5 and £10 per person.” Pat advises garden centres interested in the circus to call and discuss their options: “Every garden centre is different, so the first thing one should do is call me. Once I understand your requirements, I will put together a bespoke package and send it over to be reviewed.” ◗ CONTACT

Pat Holmes is director of promotions at Happy’s Circus. 07885 513 803

16/03/2017 09:52

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15/03/2017 15:55

features Aquatics


GCR speaks to Hall’s Garden Centre partner David Coton about the benefits an aquatic department can bring, the maintenance one entails and how consumer trends in aquatics are shaping the industry

Established 1952, Hall’s is a family run business

Coldwater fi sh stocks

The high maintenance required in aquatics departments means staff with sufficient knowledge are essential for success


all’s Garden Centre has had an aquatics department for over 50 years, says David, and it has been an asset to the centre. “We’ve found our aquatics department makes the garden centre as a whole more profitable. I think garden centres with a more diverse offering will find that it boosts their business overall, and we get a lot of customers that will wander into our department from the garden centre and vice versa, which increases footfall and sales.”


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High maintenance Garden centres with trepidation about running the department have numerous options to hand over to aquatic concessions, continues David, limiting both the financial risk of the venture and the maintenance work: “We’re an independent garden centre and aquatics, but other garden centres could consider a franchise to work their aquatic department for them and still make profit.” Logistically, David warns, an aquatics department can generate a substantial

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

workload, with high levels of stock rotation, animal husbandry and general maintenance. “Feeding products and chemicals all need to be dated, and staff need to ensure products are disposed of once they’ve expired,” says David. “It’s vital that all stock is in date and rotated correctly.” The high maintenance required in aquatic departments means staff with sufficient knowledge are essential for success, David stresses: “Fish are pets at the

end of the day – they need looking after and it’s important for staff selling them to make sure their customers go away with the right knowledge to keep them. Having the right staff is critical when selling most products in a garden centre, but it’s particularly important when it comes to animals and livestock.” To ensure staff are competent and knowledgeable, David advises managers to make training mandatory: “Training is key to our business as a whole. Our staff attend courses provided

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Aquatics features by some of our bigger brands like Tetra – we’re also a member of the Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA), which supports the trade. It’s critical to make those links and maintain relationships in the aquatic industry, to keep updated and give your staff the information they need.” It’s vital for garden centres considering an in-house aquatic department to be confident they’re able to dedicate the required time, attention and finances to run the section to a high standard, states David. “If any department isn’t maintained to a high standard it can affect a garden centre’s reputation,” David explains. “But that’s especially the case in departments that keep livestock. However, if a garden centre has the right staff, stock and time to keep an aquatics section to a high standard, this can increase footfall and turnover, making the garden centre a destination.” Trends Over his 17 years at Hall’s, David has seen significant change in demand and trends in aquatics: “There’s been a move away from larger ponds and aquariums; customers nowadays are more inclined towards small nanoenvironments. The modern consumer has less time to maintain a pond or aquarium and is looking for easier options, so we sell less big fish now and more trendy lifestyle products. Customers are also more concerned about energy and the cost of living than I think they’ve ever been, so products need to be as energy efficient as possible.” Brands have also changed a great deal since Hall’s began its aquatics department, continues David: “In this day and age we get a lot of products coming in from China as bulk imports, which has meant a drop in prices. There’s now less manufacturing going on in the UK, and the quality control has had to be maintained. We’ve

Aquatics.indd 41

The digital technology shift has affected almost every industry, and the aquatic sector is no different also seen a massive change in materials; twenty or thirty years ago you’d get a lot of concrete in water features, but there’s since been a dramatic shift towards resin, which means products can be lighter and more intricately detailed. Similarly with aquariums, in previous years there would only be glass available whereas now there’s acrylic, which you can do a lot more with in terms of shapes and styles.” Technological advancements have led to developments in aquatic equipment, adds David: “You can now control your aquarium lighting from your phone or set up alerts for cleaning your aquarium. The digital technology shift has affected almost every industry, and the aquatic sector is no different.” When selecting stock, David advises to think outside the box and offer something unusual: “We’ve been fortunate to have built up a marine saltwater offering, which is tropical and a bit different to what most will be selling. An aquatics department should aim to be unique, because that’s what customers buying fish tend to want – something they can show their friends or fellow hobbyists that they won’t have seen before.” Choose wisely Aquatic departments need to give careful consideration to which manufacturers and distributors they work with, David says: “We have a large

Concrete water features

Japanese show garden

Showroom circa 1969

number of direct accounts with manufacturers and distributors. It’s important to work with manufacturers and suppliers that want to do things responsibly, that ensure all their product is properly tested and that they’ve got fish keeping in mind.” Unusually for an aquatics department within a garden centre, Hall’s sells products online on the centre’s main website. “We find the two go hand in hand,” explains David. “We like to try as much as possible to keep our online offering the same as in store, but we can offer more products online because we can order products based on demand, and sometimes can work with our suppliers and ask them to send the products out directly to our customers.” David believes the success of Hall’s aquatics online is replicable for other garden centres: “There are of course some limitations online – livestock for instance is heavily reduced, but otherwise we find our online business works very similarly to our in-store sales. People that aren’t local

to us may see us online, and either buy online or visit to see what we have. We’re finding customers are travelling from around the country to visit our aquatics department.” David maintains the continued success of Hall’s aquatics can be attributed to its knowledgeable staff, productive relationships with suppliers, and customers: “At the end of the day, without customers we wouldn’t have a business, so you have to have new customers walking through the door as well as looking after your existing customer base. Our ability to keep our customer base is centred on the level of service they receive from staff. Likewise with suppliers – if you’re working with them rather than dictating to them or being dictated to, it’s a much easier and more productive relationship.” ◗ CONTACT

David Coton is partner at Hall’s Garden Centre.

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 09:38

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15/03/2017 16:06

Pest control features



It’s important the people on the shop floor know the dos and don’ts of pest control products

GCR speaks to business development manager at STV Pest Control Ed Deane about changes to pest control products and the modern eco-conscious consumer


est control is a highly regulated product category,” explains Ed. “Particularly when you’re talking about the active chemical products. You can divide the category into physical controls, like traps that capture live animals, and the chemical ‘active’ products. On the chemical side there’s a massive amount of regulation. All of the active substances in these products that are put into consumers’ hands are evaluated in the UK by a division of the Health and Safety Executive.” EU law is heavily involved in these regulations, Ed states, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future: “There’s a process going on at the moment called the European Biocidal Product Review (EBPR), which is harmonising our chemical regulation and registration with a pan-European process.

It’s a continuous rolling ball regulating the active chemicals used in pest control products.” The ongoing EBPR process has had a significant effect on pest control for various reasons, states Ed: “There’s certainly a narrowing of choice with this review. Sometimes products can be withdrawn from the marketplace entirely, not necessarily because the chemical is deemed unsafe, but because the manufacturers of those chemicals or molecules aren’t prepared to spend the money supporting them through the review process.” Product safety is becoming not just a concern for regulation executives but also for the modern day consumer, says Ed: “I think in previous years everyone was much more liberal with our use and storage of pesticides, but there’s definitely been a generational shift where people are becoming more eco-conscious. Bit by bit, sustainability and environmental agendas will reach across into questions on the safe use of chemicals and

active products. A few years back, if anyone had raised the issue of a pesticide being harmful to bees, the general response from the public – including gardeners – would be a shrug of the shoulders. As we seem to be taking a much more responsible view over our environment as a nation, people want to understand more about the chemicals present in our pesticides.” With the safety of active chemical pest control products being a concern for both the EBPR and modern consumers, Ed predicts the future of the market lies in progressively weaker, less harmful active products. “I absolutely think that the EBPR has on its agenda a reduction in the breadth and scope of the use of pesticides in all market spaces, including amateur use. It’s inevitable that over the next five or ten years our access to traditional synthetic active substances will lessen.” Active pest control products aren’t, however, likely to be completely removed from the market anytime soon, states

Ed: “For the foreseeable future, there will be a range of chemical products available for gardeners. The idea that there will be complete withdrawal of active products isn’t really feasible, especially if you look at products like rodenticides, which are more than just an ornamental need.” As changes from the EBPR continue to come through and take effect, Ed advises garden centres to look for suppliers of chemical pest control products they can trust to be complying with all current regulations, therefore avoiding exposure to unnecessary commercial or reputational issues. Garden centres should also ensure they are taking advantage of all the information their manufacturers can give them, states Ed, particularly in terms of product training. Pest control is a market that requires a good level of knowledge to enable staff to help customers with any questions, or to determine what products are best for them. “It’s important that the people on the shop floor know the dos and don’ts of pest control products, and can make relevant suggestions,” says Ed. “There is a lot of product knowledge to learn in this market.” ◗ CONTACT

Ed Deane is business development manager at STV Pest Control.

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16/03/2017 11:27

features Plant focus


GCR speaks to horticultural buyer at Klondyke Andy Smith about Klondyke’s new approach to house plant selection, positioning and displays

“House plants account for 10% of our plant sales currently, but that number is growing quickly,” says Andy. “Our sales have been increasing year on year; house plants are an increasingly important product group for our centres. I think a lot of garden centres


have pulled away and reduced space for their house plant offering, whereas at Klondyke we’re actually increasing our house plant areas. We’re making them work harder for us.” The changes to Klondyke’s house plant areas were made

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partially in response to an increase in customer demand, Andy explains: “I think most people like having some kind of plant in their home now, which never used to be the case, particularly in the UK. Part of that increase, I believe, can be put down to the element of healthy living – there’s a lot more knowledge out there now about plants that are good for purifying the air and giving people a sense of wellbeing. We’ve even launched a range of ‘Pure Plants’ recently to show our customers which plants can help improve wellbeing.” House plants are becoming a popular product line for competing retailers such as supermarkets. Andy is adamant that it’s more important than ever to ensure garden centres offer the highest quality: “Nowadays your customers will be able to find an offer on a Mother’s Day basket in a supermarket, so as garden centres we feel it’s important that we upgrade our house plants and offer something a bit different. Our customers want to see a good range of house plants, not just the orchid promotions they’ll find in supermarkets.” The changes Klondyke is implementing into its house plant range have already proven to be successful, continues Andy: “We can only go by the Garforth centre as it’s our pilot for the new house plant

approach, but we’ve seen a huge lift in sales. It’s tricky to quantify exactly as it’s a brand new centre, but if we compare it to our other centres of a similar size the sales of house plants have massively increased.” Where to display A key consideration for house plant areas should be flexibility, advises Andy, with the ability to increase or decrease in size as necessary: “We look at the spaces we’re using for our house plants and expand them when we need to. If we’re coming to Mother’s Day or Christmas, for example,

16/03/2017 10:15

Plant focus features

If we’re coming to Mother’s Day or Christmas, we’re able to increase house plant areas we’re able to increase house plant areas quickly without disrupting other areas.” Klondyke has also looked at the positioning of house plants in their centres: “Historically garden centres have their house plants at the till points or by entrances and exits. My theory is that people need to be in a more relaxed mode to buy house plants. “When customers enter a garden centre they may not be particularly relaxed – they could be rushing in, or have several people coming in at the same time around them. At the till, your customers are almost gone and aren’t as focused on shopping, so we reserve till points for price pointed promotional items where customers may be prepared to grab a last minute bargain. If we want people to really stop and take a look at our house plants, see which pots go with which plants and think about what might look good in their home, they need to be more relaxed. At Garforth we’ve placed our house plants by the entrance/exit point of the restaurant, so our customers are in the mindset of ‘I’m going to treat myself to some nice food’, or they’re feeling content and refreshed when leaving. That’s when we’re seeing a lot of house plants being sold; the customer journey can have a huge effect on sales.” How to display Klondyke has also invested in a different style for its

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house plant displays, says Andy: “When you look at the style we’ve piloted at our Garforth site, you can see that we’re trying to soften the feel of those areas. We’re concentrating on making our displays look attractive while keeping them retail-focused, and getting the most out of the space by displaying them by colour and having pots next to them to promote link sales.” They have decided to stick to tidy blocks and rows, making a conscious effort to avoid overcomplicating the displays. “We’ve tried various display techniques,” explains Andy. “We’ve found that with the more complicated displays, customers are less likely to pick up a house plant – they seem to think they’ll spoil the display if a plant is removed, which has a negative effect on sales. We’ve found that when we display by colour or form, it attracts customers and encourages them to pick them up and purchase them, particularly when the garden centre is able to show which colours look great together.” What to display Approaches to house plant ranges and buying over the years has changed significantly, says Andy, and Klondyke has itself evolved to ensure it’s more focused on pre-planning well in advance: “Whilst years ago buyers would just pop over to Holland and buy whichever house plants they thought looked nice or were good value for money, what we tend to do now is a lot more range planning, making sure we look ahead and know what we want our areas to look like in six months’ time.” The ability to plan ahead of time means it’s necessary for Klondyke to know which themes and plant ranges they need well in advance, but Andy hasn’t found this to be a problem: “We know what our colour themes will be, which will be matched with the giftware we’re stocking at that time. This Mother’s Day will

be the first time we move the entirety of our gift offering into one area, which will include giftware, selected gardening gift products and house plants. If we stay on trend with current fashion and have complementary colours in that section, it will promote link sales and increase turnover.” Andy’s advice to garden centres looking to maximise on house plants is simple: “Keep it turning. You have to be strict on what you’re discounting – many centres keep the same house plant stock on display week in, week out, and the quality of the plants deteriorates to the point where you have to put them on sale. Whilst there will always be customers who are looking for a bargain, there will also always be customers who want top quality products. Garden centres should make sure their house plant offering is regularly checked and restocked with new, fresh plants.” ◗


Andy Smith is horticultural buyer at Klondyke.

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NEW PRODUCTS FOR BÓRD NA MONA UK EXCEED FIRST YEAR'S EXPECTATIONS Since Bord na Móna UK introduced over 30 new SKUs to its range of horticultural products in January 2017, the company is reporting a level of success for the new additions which far surpasses initial expectations. With the introduction of a comprehensive fertiliser range, Bord na Móna UK is now able to provide customers with a complete range of growing media and specialist fertilisers. Benefitting from an innovative granulated format, the fertilisers have been praised for their ease of use and clear branded packaging. Commenting on the positive reception with which the range has been met, Head of Commercial, Steve Harper said, “ Since launching our fertiliser products last year, we have already surpassed our distribution target by over 40%! Bord na Móna UK is known for its superior quality offering and, when combined with our compost range, the new fertilisers provide an obvious, complementary choice for retailers and consumers alike. “

As with all Bord na Móna UK products, the new fertilisers are well supported at point of sale, including ‘Buy One Get One Free’ on-pack promotions and the company’s unique Product Picker. A first to the market POS concept, the Product Picker enables the consumer to select the most appropriate fertiliser for their individual plant, crop, or garden project. Alongside the consumer-friendly pack sizes and innovative formats, the Product Picker provides a useful introduction to fertiliser products and ensures Bord na Móna UK maintains its position as a leading name in the horticultural arena.

Retailers interested in working with Bord na Móna UK should contact 0800 973 555, email or visit the website








fax: +44 (0)1666 505320 email:

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News products


Scotts Miracle-Gro launches new Gro-ables herb range

All the latest news from leading product providers in the horticultural and garden retail sector

Wolf-Garten expands 72V range


he Wolf-Garten 72V li-ion power battery garden tool range is an interchangeable battery system that delivers powerful garden tools without engine fumes, tangled cables

or short run times. To date the 72V range has consisted of three lawnmowers, but 2017 will see the introduction of three new handheld tools: a grass

trimmer, hedgecutter and leaf blower. Each model is compatible with an interchangeable 72V li-ion power battery and charger system. These 2.5ah high performance batteries have 180W hours and are fully charged in 60 minutes. A quick charge option provides an 80% charge after just 45 minutes, making it one of the fastest chargers on the market. In fact, the 72V rechargeable batteries deliver immediate power and offer the longest charge time of all comparable battery powered garden tools. An integrated cooling and ventilation system helps prevent overheating and guarantees longer service life with safe charging.


cotts MiracleGro has announced a new range, ‘Gro-ables’ herbs comprising basil, coriander and parsley. A unique all-in-one pod containing herb seeds, coir compost and Miracle-Gro Plant Food, Gro-ables make growing herbs accessible for everyone. The pods are easy to use and guaranteed to grow indoors, outdoors or in pots and containers, hanging baskets, gro-bags or in the ground. With over half of gardeners already growing their own herbs, the new Gro-ables herb range appeals to those who want to try but didn’t have the confidence.

Baby Bio to rejuvenate house plant sector

New pruning loppers from Gardena

ith a host of new products in 2017, indoor plant care brand Baby Bio is set to rejuvenate the house plant sector in garden centres. Christina Bouzala, group brand manager at SBM Life Science, explained: “People who understand how to care for their house plants and recognise the value of feeding are likely to spend more, which is good news for garden centres. With this in mind, we’re using our social media platforms to show why and how to feed house plants. We’re also giving consumers a new, exciting range of products that will help them keep their house plants vibrant, bright and colourful. “Garden centres



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that want to capitalise on this opportunity need to place house plant food alongside the plants themselves to drive sales.” The products in the Baby Bio range new for 2017 are Baby Bio Orchid Feed & Mist, Baby Bio Houseplant Compost, Baby Bio Orchid Compost and Baby Bio Pour & Feed Ready to Use.

aving the right cutting tools is vital for any type of gardener so that cutting trees doesn’t turn into a balancing act. The Gardena StarCut range offers lighter, longer and easier cutting when tending to dense bushses and high trees. The new Gardena Tree and Shrub Loppers are an ideal solution for trimming high trees and shrubs. The StarCut plus permits easy cutting from the ground without requiring a ladder and is available in two variants, with a length of 160cm and with telescopic adjustment offering a length of up to 410cm. The new adjustable hook for removing cut-off branches provides additional convenience, allowing you to remove sawn-off branches from crowns of trees without any trouble at all.

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features Bugs


Gardens are important refuges for invertebrates from the intensive land use in the wider countryside - the more habitats in a garden, the greater diversity of invertebrates attracted. There are a vast variety of invertebrates with varied needs, and most do well in small spaces

A brand new unique and functional planter designed to brighten up your garden. Available in two variations and a range of colours.

For trade enquiries call 0208 7852802


lowers, habitat piles (logs, rocks, leaves etc.), ponds and boggy areas, flowering shrubs, trees, climbers, compost heaps and undisturbed wild areas – all are great features to include in a bug-friendly garden. Even in a tiny space, installing a window box or planters with herbs and flowers, putting up wallmounted bug houses or even making a container pond will all help the cause. A continuous succession of flowers to feed pollinators throughout the year can also be vastly beneficial, as are winter flowers such as Hellebore, Erica, Mahonia and snowdrops for sunny winter days. Flowering shrubs and trees such as Hebe and fruit trees can be a boom for pollinators too, and herb gardens with flowering herbs such as marjoram, rosemary and fennel provide large quantities of nectar and fresh seasoning. The autumn flowers of mature ivy are also a vital late nectar source. Many invertebrates from beetles to woodlice live, breed or hibernate in dark

refuges such as amongst logs, stones or dead vegetation. Providing habitat piles or artificial bug houses is a great way to boost the value of a garden for bugs; seed heads can also be an attractive addition to a winter garden and a shelter for bugs, and evergreen shrubs and climbers provide leafy winter lairs. One of the best things to do for wildlife is create a pond. They attract aquatic invertebrates, breeding dragonflies and many others to its margins. Other options include creating a bog garden, a shallow wet area planted with marsh plants for wetland bugs. Climber plants such as ivy grown along walls and fences create extra shelter and food for invertebrates. Nature’s best pest controllers are other invertebrates such as spiders, predatory beetles and bugs. Aphid-munching ladybirds and lacewings like wild areas and shrubs, and hibernate in dead stems and habitat

z tous, de thym à tomates


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Many invertebrates from beetles to woodlice live, breed or hibernate in dark refuges such as amongst logs, stones or dead vegetation

13/03/2017 14:13:32

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Bugs features


piles – these piles and compost heaps will also encourage slug predators such as ground beetles, devil’s coach horse and centipedes. Worker wasps are excellent caterpillar and aphid hunters, and bee hotels encourage solitary wasps, which won’t sting but are voracious predators of various pest insects. A 60cm (2ft) high polythene barrier around carrots keeps out carrot fly, and slugs prefer not to cross copper rings. Gardeners can promote companion planting by planting stronglyscented plants like marigolds, sage or lavender near prize vegetables or flowers, which can deter insect pests. Smelly nasturtiums also lure egg-laying butterflies away from cabbages. Another option is going peat free. Peat is harvested unsustainably, damaging peat bog habitats which many of Britain’s rarest and most spectacular insects depend on for survival. Reducing water use is also beneficial; running water comes from ground water and freshwater habitats. Use a water butt to harness rainwater and make it pollinator-friendly with the

Greenkey Garden & Home Ltd are proud to work with Buglife on the design of all our insect houses

Buttacup range. A compost heap for garden and kitchen waste is also great for invertebrates which assist in the production of rich compost. w

Hawkesmill Nurseries have a range of 40 popular wildflower varieties, perfect for gardeners to create their very own natural areas to encourage beneficial wildlife. 01676 532334  Bugs.indd 49

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Imaginative, whimsical products for creative gardeners of all ages! Finely detailed, weatherproof miniature garden houses, accessories and figurines, offering great value and a decent margin, with full retailer support and advice from the longest established brand in the UK. Our new 24 page A4 brochure is now availablecontact us for a copy!

- Free retail catalogues, information sheets & plant stakes - No minimum order or case size requirements - Fast delivery, low carriage paid level - Point of Purchase display available - Trade website and resource centre For further information, advice and prices, please contact: Fairyglass Ltd, Units 33-35, Leafield Indusrtrial Estate, Corsham SN13 9RS Tel. +44 (0) 1225 812101 e.

On site organic waste digesters From PKL

What goes in: Food waste Reduce your organic waste by up to

Fat, oils


Cardboard & paper packaging Disposable / takeaway coffee cups

or turn it into

bio fuel or soil improver

Cellophane Horticultural waste

01242 663000

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Pest control products


PEST CONTROL GCR rounds up top products for helping your customers remove unwanted visitors

HOZELOCK HOZELOCK PURE 7L • Specific seals are highly resistant • Two nozzles adapted for spraying natural products, with one for weed killing • Equipped with a 40cm fibreglass lance • Filter included for plant infusions/ manures • Three year guarantee RRP £44.90



• Celebrating its 120 year anniversary • Most effective wooden mouse trap available made by hand in the UK • High catch rate • Millions of traps sold • Special edition anniversary packaging in 2017

• Brings DIY mole catching within anyone’s reach • Easy to set • Highly effective • Hard-wearing • Designed and manufactured in the UK

RRP £1.50

RRP £24.50



• Contains pyrethrum • Protects against a wide number of garden pests and their larvae • Offers up to six weeks protection • Formula is neonicotinoid free • Certified by the Organic Farmers & Growers Association

• Number one insecticide brand • Contains deltamethrin • Can be used on ornamentals, fruit and vegetables • Ready to use formulation for two weeks’ control, concentrate for four • Indoor or outdoor use

RRP £3.99 - £11.99

RRP from £4.79

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Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


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products Growing media


GROWING MEDIA Offer your customers a range of products to help their gardens grow with these composts and fertilisers selected by GCR

MELCOURT INDUSTRIES LTD SYLVAGROW MULTIPURPOSE COMPOST • 100% peat free • Suitable for a range of garden applications • 50L bags or 15L carry packs • Regular winner of Which? Gardening ‘Best Buy’ • Endorsed by the RHS RRP from £3.49

CARBON GOLD GROCHAR SEED COMPOST • Faster germination • Higher germination rate • Healthier root formation • Stronger seedlings • Vigorous plants

RRP from £4.99

DALEFOOT COMPOSTS WOOL COMPOST • Peat free • 50% less watering • Feeds throughout the growing season • Professional standard growing media • Mixed pallets and dumpy bags available

RRP from £7.50



• 50L bag of compost, 7kg, 2.5kg or 900g tub of fertiliser, • Unique formulation combining ten essential nutrients • Slow release for up to 20 weeks • High quality peat content • Contains vermiculite

• Does not contain recycled waste • Unique award winning formulation • Contains Remin volcanic rock dust • Lightweight and easy to handle • Used by awardwinning growers

RRP from £5.99

RRP from £6


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PEDIGREE GARDEN Tel: 01279 401570


The specialist agents and valuers for your garden centre or nursery.

With over 25 years industry leading experience helping hundreds of companies and individuals to buy and sell retail and wholesale plant nurseries and garden centres, we are perfectly placed to do the same for you. With specialist knowledge and expertise, we should be your first port of call. Valuations - Sales - Leases - Acquisitions - Nationwide Coverage. 01732 522222

Newbuild, refurbishment

or maintenance?

More information: +31 174 638 000


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Pets products



Refresh your pet offering with these products for cats and dogs

ROSEWOOD PET PRODUCTS LISHINU • Hands free retractable leash • Integrated autolock works like a seat belt • Hand loop for greater control of the dog • Perfect for running with your dog • Changeable cover RRP £29.99

ANIMOLOGY CRASH PADS • Available in two sizes • Available in five vibrant colours • Hair, water and odour resistant • Heavy duty, wipe clean removable covers • Bean bag filling offers superior comfort and long lasting support RRP from £44.99

RUFFWEAR FRONT RANGE HARNESS • Designed for everyday use with adventurous dogs • Two leash attachment points • Strong but lightweight and pocket friendly • Padded handle for comfort • Includes a traffic handle for quick restraint RRP £44.95



• Ideal solution for exercising any cat outdoors • Designed by animal experts • Cats get used to social interaction • Comes in three sizes • Easy to put on and take off

• Made from 100% virgin nylon • Human grade flavour • No animal content, no salt, no sugar, no additives and no preservatives • Proudly made in the UK • Array of different varieties

RRP £29.99 - £32.99

RRP £4.25 - £13.99

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Official UK Distributor for DeWit Garden Tools

Capitalise on the passion for Orchids Garden centre retailers who capitalise on consumers’ passion for orchids will see sales grow, according to SBM Life Science, owner of the iconic Baby Bio® brand of house plant care products. “Everyone loves an orchid,” said Christina Bouzala, Group Brand Manager of SBM Life Science. “They are stunning plants that add structure and style to every home and with the right care and attention they will go on blooming for months and can be encouraged to flower again after a necessary period of dormancy. “We’ve added new and exciting products – Baby Bio® Orchid Feed & Mist and Baby Bio® Orchid Compost – to our orchid care range to give consumers exactly what they need to care for their precious orchids. “Retailers who make it easy for consumers to buy these products by putting them next to the plant pots and at the checkout for the quick parting purchase will see basket size grow. That’s why our products are in waterproof packaging.”

Baby Bio® Orchid Feed & Mist

Baby Bio® Orchid Feed & Mist contains all the essential nutrients needed to support and prolong flowering. A ready to use formulation, the fine mist delivers the nutrients to every part of the plant and creates a humid environment within which orchids thrive. It is available in the iconic Baby Bio® 175ml bottle.

• Lifetime Guarantee* • FSC Certified • POS Display • From Stock • *Against manufacturing defects

Inspiration in the Garden

Call: 0131 335 5955


Fax: 0131 335 5960


Baby Bio® Orchid Compost

Bark-based Baby Bio® Orchid Compost is specifically formulated for orchids. It has the open structure and free draining environment essential for the root system of orchids. It has the added nutrients orchids need for sustained flowering and is available in 5 litre packs.

Baby Bio® Orchid Food Drip Feeders

The UK’s favourite1 orchid food drip feeders, they are convenient and incredibly easy to use; just snip off the top and pop them in the pot. Each drip feeder lasts up to one month, longer than the alternatives on the market. They are available as a carton of four or in a waterproof display unit containing 25 single feeders.

Baby Bio® Orchid Food

The UK’s number one1 orchid food, Baby Bio® Orchid Food is perfectly formulated to provide orchids with the nutrients they need to flourish. A few drops of Baby Bio® Orchid Food and the orchids will produce brighter blooms and have healthy leaves. 1

GfK Retail Audit Hitlist, GB Panel Market excl. ironmongers, Houseplance Care, April 2016 Use plant protection safely. Always read the label and product information before use. Pay attention to the risk indications and follow the safety precautions on the label. Baby Bio® is a registered trademark of SBM Développement.

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Outdoor eating products


OUTDOOR EATING Get your customers into the garden as the weather warms up with these outdoor cooking appliances

BATAVIA GMBH 4GRILL GRILLER, SMOKER, SLOW COOKER & FIREPLACE • Premium stainless steel option available • Components nest together for compact shipping (60 x 60 x 40cm) • Customisable stickers • Temperature gauge • Stainless steel grill plate and cross bar RRP £179.99

WILSTONE RECYCLED KADAI FIREBOWL BARBECUE • Versatile barbecue and firebowl in one • Handcrafted in India • Over 30 awardwinning accessories • Easily moveable and transportable • Ethically made from recycled materials

RRP £164 - £272

GRAKKA LTD KAMADO JOE CLASSIC II • Gets up to cooking temperature in 20 minutes • Fuel efficient ceramic grill • Can reach 500ºc to sear steaks and cook pizzas in minutes • Range of PoS available

RRP £1,398

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CAMPINGAZ MASTER 4 SERIES CLASSIC SBS • Even temp technology • Searing Boost Station (SBS) gives extra intense heat • Compatible with the Campingaz Culinary Modular Accessory system • Reliable InstaStart electronic ignition • InstaClean system RRP £799.99

INNOVATORS INTERNATIONAL MAJESTIQUE COMBO GRILL • Gas and charcoal combo grill • Two cooking areas • Two side warming racks • Locking castor wheels • Integrated stainless steel thermometers

RRP £449.99

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products Timber


TIMBER GCR rounds up a selection of the most stylish timber products for the garden

HARTMAN OUTDOOR PRODUCTS UK LTD CLEOBURY COMPANION • Made in Acacia hardwood • FSC certified • Perfect solution for smaller spaces • Can be left outside all year • Strong and durable

RRP £270

GRANGE FENCING ULTIMATE PANEL • Neat rebated frame, mortice and tenon joints and straight cut slats • Smooth to touch • Pressure treated for protection against wood rot and decay • Four panel sizes • Complete with merchandising materials RRP from £23.99


BRUNDLE GARDENER BURNTWOOD BRIDGE • Burntwood finish • Max weight 150kg • Ideal for beds, borders and paths • Add structure to a garden • Full burntwood range

RRP £114.99


• Wide choice of models, sizes and fittings • Versatile • Durable • Scotts will deliver, erect and advise at every stage • Designed for year round enjoyment

• Pressure treated with 10 year guarantee against rot • Competitively priced • Comes complete with an underseat storage box • Diamond trellis allows in dappled sunlight • Comfortably seats two

RRP from £6,100

RRP £229.99


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THREE SMART LOOKS FOR THE GARDEN With summer creeping ever closer, consumers are turning to garden centres for the latest outdoor design inspiration. With a choice of three decorative collections, Grange provides retailers with a versatile range of on-trend decorative garden products with which to impress.

For the more minimalistic homeowner, the progressive ‘Urban’ collection features clean, sharp lines and incorporates a planter, arch, screen and pergola. When used together, the Urban collection offers a simple solution to breaking up even smaller outdoor areas into separate and distinct spaces for dining, entertaining and playing etc., without seeming too overbearing. Designed with city gardens in mind, the range offers modern pieces for on-trend outdoor living.

Alternatively, the chic ‘Contemporary’ range is ideal for more spacious gardens. Benefitting from smooth curves, chamfered edges and a domed roof, the Contemporary Arch creates a distinguished focal point as well as providing a robust frame for growing climbing plants and creepers. In cases where it may be necessary to conceal an area, rather than highlight, the Contemporary Vogue Panel offers an attractive, heavy-duty alternative to a traditional fence panel. New for 2017, this smooth, planed panel features timber slats on both sides for ultimate privacy, making it one of the most robust panels on the market.

For those who prefer a more traditional approach to landscaping, the timeless Valencia collection is sure to appeal. Boasting intricate lattice work that sits well within classically designed outside spaces, the collection comprises of an arch, arbour and handsome corner arbour- a real statement piece for entertaining. Whether consumers are looking to totally re-vamp their garden space or simply enhance it with a smaller facelift, Grange’s comprehensive range of decorative garden collections ensure attractive purchase options for consumers with differing types of gardens.

To find out more, visit

Retailers interested in working with Grange should call the company on 01952588088 or email

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Garden Centre Retail Systems Multi-channel Retail Management Solution In-Store Mobile Web T 02393 873 170 E W

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Gifts products



Revitalise your gift department with products for adults and children alike

BELIGHTFUL DESIGN BELIGHFTUL BUTTERFLY OASIS • Supports butterflies • Includes butterfly food, GMO free nectar • Other insects don’t have access to the nectar • Scandinavian design • Recyclable

RRP £49.90

GISELA GRAHAM KITCHEN GARDEN CERAMIC SMALL JUG • Designed by Gisela Graham • Bright and uplifting design • Useful, pretty, inexpensive • Dishwasher safe • Part of a collection

RRP £13.50

ASHLEIGH & BURWOOD LIMITED EDITION FRAGRANCE LAMP GIFT SETS • Original fragrances crafted in England • Garden inspired fragrances • Stunning white and pastel gift box • Range of PoS available • Part of a larger collection RRP £37.95

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HEYLAND AND WHITTLE CLEMENTINE & PROSECCO RANGE • Fills space with elegance • Sweet and sharp fragrance • Fruity and sparkling • Indulge, relax, unwind • Handmade in England RRP up to £25

HALLMARK ITTY BITTYS • Easy pick up to increase shopper basket value • Collectability with over 30 characters • Supporting PoS • Supported by a full digital campaign • Attracts adults and kids alike

RRP £6

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products Kelkay



Everything you need to know to sell Kelkay’s Borderstone Natural Sandstone Paving Supplied from garden centres via direct home delivery in measured ‘patio packs’, the product is also available in single sizes directly from garden centres. Guaranteed to colour match thanks to our careful and consistent sourcing policy, and it’s easy to buy additional supplies to complete the job if required. Natural Sandstone paving is precisely calibrated to an even thickness of 22mm to make it easier to lay and create a level finish.

Ethically sourced from ancient quarries, employing artisan stone masons who first weather the material before selecting and hand cutting every piece to ensure a stable, naturally textured surface that will not flake to prevent the formation of puddles on the surface.

Available in four natural colours (Easter Sand, Scottish Glen, Lakefell, Cornfield), the product is supplied in mixed (six) slab sizes to create a natural randomised pattern.

Also available in a matching range of round or random shaped stepping stones, as well as natural edging to enable the creation of a coordinated look.


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Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017

To learn more, contact Kelkay at: 01405 869333 salesenquiries@

16/03/2017 09:35

Zest 4 Leisure Quality Timber Garden Products...

Venus Arch Marford Planter Set Scotts of Thrapston has an enviable reputation for manufacturing quality timber summerhouses and bespoke garden buildings to enhance any garden setting. We are actively seeking new show centres to display and sell our range of summerhouses. We offer favourable commercial terms along with sales and marketing support.

Norfolk Arbour

For more details please email: or call 01832 732366.

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For further details contact: Clive Boughton Phone: 0135 923 23 20 Mail:

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products Business



GCR speaks to John Hinde, sales manager of Kadai Firebowls, about the company’s past, present and future and what it can offer garden centres Sales manager John Hinde (right) with company owner Christo McKinnon-Wood

What are the key selling points of the product? The Kadai firebowls are made from recycled oil drums and can be used as both a barbecue and firepit. To supplement them we provide a full range of accessories to use for cooking and also as fireside utensils. The Kadai is also ideal as a planter for shrubs, flowers and herbs or as an unusual water feature to enhance your garden. What are the lead times? Currently our stock levels have been built up ready for the new season, so we’re geared up for a quick turnaround of two to three days, however as we get busier this will probably rise to around seven to ten days. My advice to all our stockists is to get your orders in well in advance so we can fit you into our schedule.

Can you give us a brief outline of the Kadai brand? The name ‘Kadai’ is taken from a traditional hand-beaten cooking bowl used across India for hundreds of years. Kadai Firebowls is a registered name of Wilstone House and Gardens Ltd and has become a well known brand. After 10 years working at the Furniture Cave in London, founder Christo McKinnon embarked on an adventure;

six months travelling in India. A passion for this great country, its people and its vibrant styles captured Christo’s imagination. On his return to the UK he decided to build a business around his love of India, using the Kadai as a firebowl and barbecue. Over many years the design has developed and improved. The product is new to this market. What makes

it different to similar products? The Kadai is a versatile addition to any garden – it’s a circular social piece to sit around, providing warmth, light and the alluring flicker of flames. With the simple addition of a grill, the Kadai is transformed into a barbecue. When the food is finished and the sun sets, just lift the grill, add more firewood and enjoy the heat long into the evening.

What support are you offering garden centres? We provide stockists with varying amounts of marketing support depending on their spend levels. For a new stockist with an initial order of £1,500, we offer a set of three display plinths, visual merchandising boards, sand boards and product brochures. For a larger commitment, and where space allows, we offer access to our dimplex flame

The Kadai is also ideal as a planter for shrubs, flowers and herbs or as an unusual water feature to enhance your garden


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Business products

The ‘Kadai’ is a versatile addition to any garden – it’s a circular social piece to sit around providing warmth, light and the alluring flicker of flames units, slat wall vinyl backing strips and a bespoke in-store setup based on our show stands. We also invite stockists to scheduled training days here in Shropshire, and our sales team make on-site visits on a regular basis.

A dramatic centrepiece for any garden

Why should a garden centre sell the Kadai products? We offer a great product range that’s social, romantic, multifunctional and a brand leader. This is backed up by our award-winning customer service support.

Picture perfect mulled wine this winter

What’s the next step for the brand? New products for 2017 with improved marketing and merchandising, followed by an expanded range for 2018. Who are the key contacts at the company? Stockist sales team: Fleur Fox, Josh Croft, Miles Gillian. Despatch/logistics: Rowena Jones. Credit control: Julie Thomas. Marketing: Josie Beasley. John Hinde setting up for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show


Cook up whatever you fancy with Kadai fi rebowls

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Fall in love with outdoor living

Kadai Firebowls Home Farm, Leebotwood, Shropshire SY6 6LX 01694 771 800

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017


16/03/2017 10:20


For full details on all jobs, please go to

Call 01903 777 574 or email with your vacancy



Busy packhouse looking for enthusiastic, meticulous and self motivated person to work in a fast paced environment to exceptional standards. This is a key role within the company and the successful individual will have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. The job will include assisting the packhouse manager with daily tasks, phone calls and emails, printing and monitoring labels, the use of ISF for booking orders, completing excel sheets and log books. Experience in printing labels and IFS would be helpful but full training will be given. In return this business has further management development opportunity for the right person.

We’re an independent garden centre in Battersea, SW London. We’re looking for a full time assistant manager. You’ll love plants, you’ll get retail, and you’ll want to delight every single customer that we meet. We’re looking for someone who will ensure that our garden centre looks beautiful, clean and tidy, all the time, that everything’s priced, watered and loved, that we don’t run out of stock (compost, pots, plants and the like!), and that things don’t start to look tired. What’s most important to us is attitude, attention to detail, someone who really understands retail, displays, the importance of everything looking great, and who understands that without happy customers (and our aim is very happy customers) we’re never going to grow.

For more details, please go to

For more details, please go to



An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our forward thinking family owned company, which is committed to our staff, growing our business and setting high standards. You will be responsible for the bedding plant department at our Hersham Garden Centre which has an extensive and well stocked plant area. You will have extensive knowledge and experience of working in a retail bedding department and a horticultural qualification. A passion for customer service and the ability to thrive in a fast paced environment are essential. You will be flexible, enthusiastic and highly motivated, commercially aware and have the ability to create dynamic displays.

A fantastic opportunity for a dynamic and inspirational garden centre manager to join a highly successful business providing the very best quality plants and a wide selection of home and leisure goods all merchandised to high standards of retailing. On a daily basis you will hold a good level of autonomy for the overall profit and success of the business. The appointed person will have previous experience in garden centre retailing, excellent communication skills and will be a natural team leader confident to deliver results with drive and enthusiasm, in return for an excellent salary and long term rewarding career.

For more details, please go to

For more details, please go to



Our client is seeking a horticulture manager to join their team. We have a number of positions around London, Home Counties and Midlands. The job will include ensuring that the garden centre delivers the best customer service possible, proactively offering advice to customers, promoting a good working environment to include training rotas and staff inductions, ensuring stock levels are up to date and wastage is kept at a minimum, ensuring all signage and promotional material is arranged and promoted correctly and more. The ideal candidate will be horticulture qualified, have excellent people and customer service skills, have retail experience and a full UK driving licence.

An exciting opportunity has arisen to join our garden centre at Stanmore. You will be responsible for managing the outdoor plant department which has an extensive and well stocked plant area. You must have experience and/or horticultural qualifications and garden centre retail experience. You will be able to manage your department to achieve sales and profit targets whilst motivating your team to maximise all sales opportunities and inspiring them to offer the highest standards of customer service. You must have the ability to thrive in a fast paced environment, have a passion for plants, be highly motivated, commercially aware and able to create dynamic, inspirational displays.

For more details, please go to

For more details, please go to

L & D FLOWERS LTD Pinchbeck, Spalding


ANDERSPLUS London, Home Counties and Midlands


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16/03/2017 09:55

The Glasshouse Specialists.

Glasshouses bought and sold. Venlo specialists. Structures for Garden Centres. All aspects of glasshouse work including poly roofs snow damage and Composite panels. Tel: 01262 608831 Fax: 01262 409004 Email: Website:

l One-click arming l Highly efficient l Fully reuseable l Made in Britain


Mole catching made easy

With over 45 years experience we pride ourselves on customer service.

Endorsed by Master Mole Catchers in the UK

EasySet Mole Trap only £24.50 each RRP

From initial design concept through to full installation, Clovis Canopies can take care of your canopy and walkway needs. or call us on 01223 927216

01622 873 907

Showcase Products with Natural Timber Merchandising Display Units 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 • •

& d d he fte is ra fin dc ly an ul H utif a be

Antiqued ornamental stoneware from Hampshire Gardencraft

M&M Timber retail display stands are the ideal solution for fresh plants, trees, shrubs, gardening or building products and seasonal promotional displays. The range includes: • 3 and 4 Tiered displays

• Tables compact and tall

• Square and hexagonal displays

• Trellis

• Pot Holders • Box display units

Call 0333 003 5133 for brochure and prices Phone | 01730 895182

E: M&M Timber is a Division of Forest Garden Limited.

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GLEE ad 2017_Layout 1 02/03/2017 16:36 Page 1

Greenhouses Garden rooms Wall Gardens cold Frames accessories Greenhouses Garden rooms Wall Gardens cold Frames accessories

Visit us at Glee

VitaVia Garden Products ltd t: 01473 218100



Visit us at Glee 11-13 september 2017 Hall 20 l50-M51

VitaVia Garden Products ltd t: 01473 218100

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11-13 september 2017

16/03/2017 09:25

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Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017  

Garden Centre Retail March/April 2017  

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