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Christmas lighting specialist NOMA ready to illuminate Harrogate 2017 With more than 75 years in the business, NOMA’s expertise in Christmas lighting is second to none, and the NOMA Christmas 2017 collection takes the brand back to these roots, with a firm focus on all things lighting-related. Customers visiting the stand at Harrogate (stand A09, A22) or the showroom at LeisureGrow’s Hertfordshire headquarters will be treated to a dazzling display of lighting for Christmas 2017. The range for 2017 includes light chains, home styling accessories, decorative trees, acrylic figures, and outdoor lighting. There are hundreds of new products, including new innovations from the NOMA team like its gorgeous range of new Pre-lit LED Decorative Willow Trees. NOMA is also looking forward to showing off its new Northern Lights range which is so top secret, no product images are being handed out as of yet, so customers will need to head to Harrogate to see them for themselves! NOMA will be displaying its tree collection, which includes its pre-lit 1-2-Tree System range: simply slot the three tree parts together, plug the tree in, and all the branches fall into place automatically with each branch lit with just the right number

of lights. NOMA also has non-pre-lit trees available in a variety of designs and sizes, to suit every home and budget.

Technology As leaders in Christmas lighting innovation, NOMA’s products all come with the technology that makes them easy to use over the festive period, including: 4Fit & Forget 72 Day Battery Lights: NOMA’s indoor or outdoor battery lights come with the technology that lets you time your lights to come on at the same time each day and then turn off after 6 hours. And the batteries will last for up to 72 days. 4Easytimer: With NOMA’s innovative Easytimer you can set your plug-in lights to come on at the same time each day, and then turn off after 8 hours just by pressing

one button. 4Add-A-Long Pro: Lets you link multiple sets of lights together using one plug, perfect for impressive outdoor light displays of up to 4,000 lights, without lots of wires. Frank Kaminski, marketing director for NOMA says: “For us, Christmas is all about those twinkling lights that give everyone that warm festive feeling, so whether it’s a string of decorative lights on a mantelpiece, a piece of LED Christmas art on the wall, or decorative tree in your front porch, everything in the NOMA range comes with integral lights. We’ve worked hard on this year’s range to streamline our offering so we can deliver a great experience and level of customer service to our customers, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the stand at Harrogate, or back at the showroom.”

NOMA Christmas 2017 Showroom If you’re unable to attend the Harrogate Christmas and Gift Fair, or you want to see the NOMA Christmas 2017 range in all its glory, NOMA’s stunning Christmas 2017 showroom for trade customers is now open at LeisureGrow’s Hertfordshire based offices. To arrange a visit to the showroom please call the NOMA sales team on 01462 744 500 or sales@leisuregrow.co.uk

Trends for 2017 Frank Kaminski, marketing director for NOMA picks his top industry trends for buyers at this year’s show: 4trend-Conscious Christmas: “We’ve brought a touch of the industrial interiors trend to Christmas for next year with our NOMA Bulb Collection which features Edison lightbulbs in different sizes, as string lights and centrepieces. This was really popular when we launched it as a NOMA Garden Art product, and we think it will prove just as popular for Christmas.” 4outdoor Lighting: “The increasing influence of how the USA does Christmas means that more and more consumers want to decorate their gardens and the outside of their houses with Christmas lights. We’ve increased our range of fit & forget battery lighting and our add-a-Long Pro outdoor lights so people can easily illuminate any area of the garden they want.” 4Christmas in home Decor: “We’re seeing a big trend for seasonal decor where Christmas decorations don’t just stop editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

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at the windows, tree, or table. People are really embracing the Christmas period by swapping cushions, artwork, and ornaments for festive themed versions. Tied to this trend we’ve increased our range of pre-lit LED wall art, with some beautiful natural-style Christmas scenes for displaying on a wall or table, including our Pre-Lit LED Natural Snowman Scene Wall Art.”

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DECEMBER 2016-JanuaRy 2017

What’s happening at Scotts Miracle-Gro and Wyevale GC? As we reach the end of 2016 speculation is rife over for the future direction of two of the biggest names in the UK garden industry. It has been a year of change for Scotts Miracle-Gro and Wyevale Garden Centres, and that trend is set to continue well into 2017. As the share value of Scotts soars in the US and more acquisitions related to Hydroponics and indoor growing are announced, the UK and Europe business appears to be “for sale”. GTN has heard rumours that a number of UK redundancies have already been made, although they haven’t been confirmed by the company. Looking ahead to 2017, UK general manager Sheila Hill

told GTN: “We’re excited about the future of our portfolio, the many developments within the industry, and keeping gardening as one of the top leisure activities in the UK.” (see Sheila’s full comments on page 4). Scotts Miracle-Gro has already ‘offloaded’ two of the former Solus brands, selling Chapelwood to Smart Garden Products early in the year and Bermuda to Evolution Aqua in December. The speculation is that Scotts Miracle-Gro will be bought by UK or European-based VCs. Meanwhile, it appears that Wyevale Garden Centres has stopped its policy of buying garden centres at regular intervals, and GTN has been told the company has disbanded

its acquisition and integration teams. A spokesperson said Wyevale Garden Centres had no comment to make on the speculation. Wyevale Garden Centres has completed 25 acquisitions under Terra Firma’s ownership but the rate of growth slowed in 2016 with the purchase of two centres, including Woodcote Green. It appears that the company is currently being more selective with its acquisitions. But it was a big blow to lose out on the Dobbies chain of garden centres when Tesco decided to sell. It would be interesting to learn what Terra Firma’s Guy Hands has got planned for Wyevale Garden Centres now! 4See p4 for 2017 predictions

INSIDE T H I S I SS U E PATS SANDOWN EIGHT-PAGE PULL-OUT GUIDE

Pet extravaganza

Special pull-out-and-keep section to the top pet trade show p11-18

Review of the Year We look back at a big year for the industry and look forward to 2017 p2-6

Evolution Aqua buys the Bermuda brand from Scotts Multi award-winning Wigan based manufacturer Evolution Aqua continues its rapid expansion with the purchase of the Bermuda pond equipment brand from Scotts Miracle-Gro. Originally a Solus brand, Bermuda was more recently acquired by Scotts Miracle-Gro, before being put up for sale as Scotts concentrates on its core gardening business. The Bermuda brand joins Evolution Aqua’s existing pond and koi product portfolio, including K1 Micro, Nexus, PURE, EazyPod, evoUV, eaProPump, Stop Blanketweed and airpumps. At a different range and price point, Bermuda will operate as a separate business and complement, not compete with, Evolution Aqua and its specialist koi filtration market. Bermuda will be available to the much wider gardening and water gardening markets, as well as being available to the whole existing Evolution Aqua dealer network. Bob Meacham (pictured), a 26-year water gardening trade veteran, moves with the Bermuda brand to Evolution Aqua. editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

garden trade news

Christmas Special

Great ideas for 2017 – preview of the Harrogate trade show p24

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in touch

Review of the Year

2016: a restless industry continues to change shape GTN associate editor Mike Wyatt looks back on a year in which the industry got on with it, despite Brexit, Trump and the weather...

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n a year coloured by Brexit and Trumpism, the sun came out now and again and it rained often, people still planted their geraniums, consumed coffee and cakes and plied each other with gifts, thus ensuring that garden centre tills up and down the land continued to kerching with little interruption. If it means anything at all, it is surely that a visit to the garden centre offers a troubled population a pleasurable distraction from the political and economic noise of the world. But beyond the public gaze, the back office was alive with tumult. Shall we retire and sell up, or hand over to the kids? Shall we invest in a new coffee shop or a bigger car park? Shall we buy another (one, two, three, thirty-three…) centres? Shall we go down the price-cutting route or follow the posh end of the market? How far should one go in trying to attract younger consumers? Should we be taking ‘green’ issues more seriously? Those were the questions during a year not of revolution but one in which the movers and shakers were gently changing the shape of our industry as they worked it all out. Inevitably, all eyes were again on Wyevale Garden Centres as owners Terra Firma pushed on towards an exit or flotation. It

Tesco rejected the Terra Firma bid in favour of new investors Hattington and Midlothian. was picking up the occasional independent – Woodcote Green in Surrey and Crowders (since renamed Wolds View) in Lincolnshire joined its early in the year– but the sale and leaseback of eight centres in January, which raised £91m, and five more in June (£40m) was widely seen as signalling another spending spree. It was no surprise, then, when WGC was first in the queue, flashing a rumoured £175m cheque, after news of Tesco’s intention to sell the Dobbies chain of 35 – at last – leaked out in April. It would have taken the group close to 200 stores and £500m turnover –

The Homebase name will start to disappear next year, to be replaced by the Bunnings brand under new Aussie owners Wesfarmers.

sufficient critical mass, perhaps, for a flotation. But the Tesco board had other ideas… they chose to sell Dobbies to a different equity group –led by Midlothian Capital Partners and Hattington Capital, who paid them £217m for it in a deal widely regarded as “good for the industry” (not to mention for the new owners, too – Dobbies had contributed £17m to Tesco PLC’s reported profit before tax for the year ended 27 February 2016). It was a slap in the face for WGC, signalling a potential derailment of Terra Firma’s Master Plan. The year’s other Really Big Deal was the acquisition by Aussie group Wesfarmers of the Homebase chain, a key player in the garden market. Its £340m bid blew away rivals, who had included former Wyevale (Garden Centre Group) boss Nicholas Marshall. Wesfarmers replaced the entire senior management team and laid plans for re-branding the business under the name of its price-fighting Bunnings chain in

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Australia. The first UK Bunnings opens in February 2017 at St Albans – apparently it’s going to have a bigger and better gardening offer. In a New Year in which price pressure across the garden industry will be mounting, this venture will be closely scrutinised by its rivals. Down from the dizzy heights of the big chains, a great game of Monopoly was gathering pace. The British Garden Centres group added a tenth centre (Durham GC), as so did Cherry Lane Garden Centres (Glebe GC in Leicestershire), and so also did Boyd Douglas-Davies’s Hillview group (Scotland Nurseries in Derbyshire); and yet another…Leighton Buzzard became Paul Chessum’ Home & Gardens Group’s tenth site. Clearly, it’s creeping ‘decimalisation’…. While we’re on numbers, the fast-growing discount retailer B&M, which has former Tesco CEO Terry Leahy as its chairman, opened its 100th garden centre in Salisbury and said it planned to open 10 more

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Rosebourne’s ‘food, gardening and gifts’ approach aims to set a new benchmark for garden retailing. before the end of the year, claiming it had “the critical mass to be an important player in the sector”. Longacres Garden Centre, whose flagship Bagshot store is the highest turnover garden centre in the UK (£20m+) acquired Bybrook Barn GC at Ashford, Kent, its third store; Grovewell Garden Centres added Hawkinge near Folkestone to its Canterbury and Tenterden sites; Blue Diamond bought Harlow GC, followed by Coton at Cambridge, its 19th centre. Meanwhile, others adopted a ‘Carry on Investing’ approach. Notcutts announced it would modernise all 18 of its centres over the next five years; Barton Grange (named in January as the GCA’s top destination garden centre for the fifth year in a row) prepared to start work

Longacres (turnover £20m+) added Bybrook Barn at Ashford to its portfolio.

on its £8m mixed leisure destination development at Brock (with a three-screen cinema, ice rink, bowling alley, crazy golf and restaurants); Edward Tarbatt won approval for plans to transform Bridgford GC near Nottingham into a major destination site. Blue Diamond completed an impressive £1m refurbishment at its Trentham store, Stoke-on-Trent. As operators searched for the Next Big Thing, a new name joined the circuit. The purposebuilt Rosebourne Garden Centre on the site of the former Weyhill Nursery near Thruxton promised “a new benchmark, offering customers a fresh approach with a focus on locally sourced produce, excellent dining, traditional plants and unique gifts”. The project was inspired by the success of John Kitching’s Beckworth Emporium in Northants. The elite Tillington Group said the 33 centres operated by its 11 member companies had broken through the £200m turnover barrier, with all members increasing sales following investment. While it resembled a Monopoly game on the property front, the people picture was more like a game of musical chairs. Wyevale Garden Centres swapped CEO Kevin Bradshaw for former Toys “R” Us MD Roger Mclaughlan. Dobbies new

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

owners brought in former Maplin Electronics boss John Cleland, an experienced retail executive, as CEO, to replace Andy King, who later moved to the top job at Evans Cycles. Martin Breddy, the former UK MD of Scotts Miracle-Gro, took over as CEO of Squire’s Garden Centres when Dennis Espley retired after a 30-year career with the group. And Malcolm Scott, designer of so many leading UK garden centres, merged his business with Midlands property consultancy Harris Lamb. Michael Cole announced his retirement from Notcutts after 38 years with the company. It looked a little like carelessness when the GCA announced in July that three of its Gang of Four our standards inspectors would be leaving at the same time. But it was, we were told, for personal reasons in each case. Nevertheless, it still left industry stalwart Roger Crookes as the only remaining member of the team that crisscrosses the country each year to set the benchmark in garden retailing. At the time of writing, the GCA was still trying to fill the vancanies. On the supplier front, Scotts Miracle-Gro, owner of gardening’s biggest brands, could hardly avoid the headlines as it divested the remainder of its former Solus ranges, selling ChapelWood to Smart Garden

Products. Smart’s Paris Natar, who pioneered the bird care category during his Gardman days, said: “At last, we have found absolutely the right opportunity to enter this exciting category.” Meanwhile, Scotts US parent company was making no secret of its search for new strategic partners or buyers for its European operation, in order to focus on opportunities (like hydroponics) at home. Tildenet’s acquisition of Bosmere at the top of the year, Kingfisher’s massive re-launch during the summer and Gardman’s ‘core sales’ initiatives announced at Glee were indicators of just how intensive the battle for the soul of core gardening has become since the demise of Solus. As ever, the industry proved itself an amazing supporter of good causes. Gardman presented Greenfingers with a cheque for more than £47,000 and Wyevale Garden Centres handed over £750,000 to Marie Curie – then we heard that Garden Re-Leaf Day 2016 had raised a massive £140,000. There have been many more generous corporate and individual fund-raisers for Greenfingers and other charities through the year.

rememberthem Valued friends we lost in 2016 included: Cornelius N Van Hage, age 91 who, with his wife Thea (who predeceased him), founded the pioneering Van Hage garden centre at Great Amwell. Brigitte Canale, wife of Renato Canale, of Europlants UK, of which she was financial director. A popular and welcoming presence at the nursery, she was (in Renato’s words) “a shining light in all that she did. She will be sorely missed by everyone”. At its opening days the following month, Europlants celebrated 25 years in business. Brian Gates, 80, son of the founder of Gates Garden Centre at Cold Overton, Leicestershire, and father of the current managing director, Nigel Gates.

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in touch

Crystal-ball gazing for the New Year...

What next in 2017? Five industry opinion formers offer their views on the events of the year and the prospects for the next 12 months and beyond.

Why exporting in post-Brexit Britain is essential

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e are in the middle of a ‘Phoney War’ regarding Brexit. Businesses large and small feel in limbo as we wait to hear whether Prime Minister Theresa May and “the three Brexiteers” – Messrs Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson respectively – will attempt to steer Britain into a “hard or “soft” exit from the EU. Many business people campaigned for Britain to vote Remain during the EU Referendum, thinking (sometimes after much heartsearching), that remaining would be the best option for trade with our biggest market, that it would protect and grow foreign direct investment here and because it best met our geo-political needs. Many others championed the long term benefits for Britain and business in reclaiming our own destiny. Now that we have voted to leave, we need to make the best of the situation. The recent Brexit decision presents a greater challenge to smaller businesses than larger corporations, perhaps, for many reasons: larger firms will find it easier to handle the challenges; after all, they have greater

by Amanda Sizer Barrett, MBE, director general of Gardenex and PetQuip

capacity to move production to inside the EU if need be. Smaller companies need to remain hopeful that we can strike a good trade agreement with the EU and that they need us as much as we need them, not least because some of the leading export markets for garden and pet products are countries within the EU. In the meantime the pound has fallen by 15% against the Euro this year which — for firms that haven’t been hit by increases in

imported raw materials costs — makes British goods much more competitive than they were. So in the short term at least Brexit has given British exporters a boost and they should capitalise on it. In the longer term, Britain will be making free trade agreements of our own, possibly starting with Commonwealth countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Singapore. For small businesses considering exporting, now is an

ideal time to start exploring these markets as they may have greater potential for exporting in the future than they did prior to the Brexit vote. Businesses should look at expanding into exporting as a way of placing their product in a larger global market, giving much greater opportunity for growth. Some countries may be less competitive than the UK, allowing small businesses to earn greater profits. Developing countries will almost certainly have greater growth potential in almost any product. Now the die has been cast, the decision has focussed business minds on exporting. SMEs should take full advantage of the weakened pound as foreign interest has increased; seizing the opportunity to start selling internationally or expanding their export target markets could result in both short term gains and the prospect of building long-term financial benefits for their businesses. The Gardenex and PetQuip trade associations are here to help businesses take the initiative to begin exporting or to tackle new markets.

We must appeal to a new generation of younger gardeners by Sheila Hill, UK general manager at Scotts Miracle-Gro I believe this is a hugely exciting time to be in the horticulture industry. Scotts has a strong core consumer base, and we must remain innovative in order to appeal to a new generation of younger gardeners.  This is why we’re developing products for the urban gardener and investing in ideas such as the Connected Yard and vertical gardening. In terms of Brexit, the effects are likely to remain unknown for some time, but there are aspects of the regulatory processes that require urgent clarification. For example, knowing whether or not zonal processing will continue for 4 DECEMBER 2016/JANUARY 2017 • CHRISTMAS & REVIEW OF THE YEAR • garden trade news

regulated products. If this process is to change it could significantly increase the time and cost of bringing regulated products to market. Looking forward to the next 10 years, the biggest challenge we will face is mitigating the increasing cost of our supply chain while remaining competitively priced for our consumers.  The costs of freight, packaging and raw materials are all going up - figuring out how to absorb that cost without increasing prices is one of our top priorities. We’re excited about the future of our portfolio, the many developments within the industry, and keeping gardening as one of the top leisure activities in the UK.

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in touch

continued from p4

Price pressure will be the biggest issue

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think 2017 will be a challenging year for growers, retailers and suppliers. The biggest issue, I believe, will be prices for all concerned. Unless the pound rallies, which is unlikely, there will be cost price pressures due to the exchange rate and increased costs in the supply chain due to oil price increases. With the likelihood that suppliers will see considerable cost price increases these will not be easily absorbed and at least a proportion will be passed on through the supply chain. The retailers will again have to pass some of the increase through to consumers which is always difficult, particularly when dealing with discretionary purchases. The consumer will be facing rising inflation leaving less disposable income. Availability of temporary

labour is going to be a key challenge for growers. Again caused by the exchange rate, the UK is a less attractive place for migrant workers where their wages have seen a 20% decrease against other European countries since the value of the pound fell. However, for those suppliers and growers who export there will be opportunities for growth and equally opportunities for import substitution as products and plants from the euro zone look less attractive. Retailers will see opportunities where competing for the leisure pound as travel to Europe for breaks becomes more expensive and it is likely that more people will spend their time off at home. Garden retail remains one of the most attractive retail sectors ( hence the increasing competition!) and the

We’re getting better at pulling customers in... rain or shine

by Carol Paris, chief executive of the Horticultral Trades Asasociation

experience that can be offered will still allow us to compete effectively against online shopping. So, a  challenging year ahead and one that will demand we look at all areas of our

businesses again. However, there are still good opportunities for those who have the agility to adapt and the ability to give the customer the service and entertainment they will be seeking.

Will they spend or will they save...and will they stay at home for their holidays?

by Martin Breddy, managing director, Squire’s Garden Centres

by Matthew Bent, managing director at Bents Garden & Home

There are plenty of clouds gathering on the horizon in 2017. The weak pound will create inflation for suppliers across most sectors. Even those manufacturing in the UK, will be hit by the rising cost of materials and commodities bought in dollars or euros. Consumers will face rising prices during 2017, which is likely to lead to demands for higher wages. I’m sure suppliers will be looking at creative ways to offset cost increases. That’s vital, since household budgets will be stretched and I don’t see much capacity for passing on cost increases without it affecting volumes. Despite these worsening economic conditions, I remain optimistic about prospects for garden centre retailing. The weather will usually ‘trump’ the economy (if it’s still acceptable to use that phrase!) and we’re up against a cold, wet April in 2016. That should help. And even if our climate misbehaves, we’re becoming more skilled at offering a varied retail experience that draws customers in come rain or shine. For example, I’m encouraged by our growth in catering and am certain there is more potential in this area.

Hopefully next year will be a little less eventful on the world stage than 2016!  The Brexit vote really took people by surprise and I think the full impact won’t really be known for quite some time. One factor that is already having an impact, is an increase in costs.  The challenge will be how we handle these increases; knowing when to reduce margins and when to pass certain costs on.  These will be difficult decisions, especially when there is also such uncertainty in consumer confidence.  Brexit has left us wondering… will they spend or will they save? However, with the added strength of the euro, we can also see a positive for our industry as we think there will be a rise in staycations; it ties in with consumer trends and is something we can build upon.  With more people renting there is less traditional gardening and a greater desire for more instant solutions and easy to change garden rooms; creating the perfect venue for a staycation. The environment is also having an impact on consumer trends as there is no longer a predictable weather pattern.  As a business we need to be more flexible, add more elements that are not weather dependent, and next year we will be focussing on developing our new departments such as our Food Hall, Pet Place, Children’s Department and Dining Destinations.  We also need to be aware of the growing consumer trend for e-commerce.  The UK is one of the highest online consumers so it is vital that we continue to develop our business as a destination centre that is no longer focussed on products alone.

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editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


Garden industry news, views and people

in touch

Norfolk Leisure’s success story continues at a pace The Norfolk Leisure team have just celebrated the first anniversary in their new premises. Even in these uncertain and unpredictable times the company is still thriving and growing at an unprecedented rate. In the last 12 months the team has grown significantly in all areas, including recruiting a commercial manager and plenty of admin support staff. “The scope of business and financial experience Spencer Harwell has bought to the business is incredible,” says Nick Anderson, Managing Director. ‘Having someone with Spencer’s experience has certainly relieved the pressure on the existing management team. “The staff have also been working towards ISO9001 and ISO14001 and hope to complete the certification early in 2017. This is a great achievement for us and recognition for the standards we are working to.” As long time members of LOFA, Norfolk Leisure is also committed to the LOFA Code of Practice and customers can be assured

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

that all products supplied are in accordance with current regulations and technical standards. Norfolk Leisure is fully supportive of LOFA’s initiatives to raise and regulate the legislative compliance within its membership. Product development is still the priority for Norfolk Leisure. Working with strong brands it is a colossal task to develop and bring to market products with the very unique and specific USPs the company

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requires. High quality and exclusive designs are always at the forefront of Norfolk Leisure’s product advances. There has been so much going on for Norfolk Leisure it is difficult to pinpoint a single reason for its growth and success. It maybe with the years of experience within the business and a willingness to always learn and develop that has made Norfolk Leisure more focused and innovative.

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generation game

Klondyke Strikes

Striking gold Generation Game, our special feature on family-run garden centres, takes a look at an amazing revamp of Klondyke Strikes’ Garforth store in Leeds....

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he lastest stage of the Klondyke Strikes strategy of store upgrades and refurbishment – a complete rebuild at Garforth in Leeds – is proving to be a gold medal success since its re-opening in October. Initial budgets have been smashed, extra staff recruited and when GTN visited the centre was full of happy customers and ringing tills. The low ceiling heights, warm colour schemes and shop fittings give the centre a homely feeling, as though it had been open again for quite a while. The Topiary Restaurant, which has 220 covers, is “serve to table” and the popular specials menu includes dishes such as Ox Cheek, Red Mullet and Roast Garlic and Vegetable Curry. Chief Executive David Yardley told GTN: “We’ve completely changed everything with this centre and paid big attention to customer service and staffing. “Next year we will start a major programme of staff development across the whole group to build on the learnings from this opening and our other refurbishments.” Bob Hewitt, who retired in December to take up the role of part time Chairman, added: “Our next re-developemnt will be

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Pictured with David Yarley and Bob Hewitt are Finance Director Sharon Allen and Retail Operations Director David Abbott. Edinburgh Morton Hall which will be followed by works at Polmont, including new head office facilities, and Weaver Vale. “We have gained great returns from our strategy so far so that will continue.

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That won’t stop us looking at any potential aquisitions though.” Here’s our pictorial look at the new-look garden centre, which is proving a huge success for Klondyke Strikes.

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


generation game

editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

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Garden industry news, views and people

gtn news digest Your catch-up guide to the past month EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING The Garden Communication & Media Company Ltd (TGCMC), The Old School, 4 Crowland Road, Eye, Peterborough PE6 7TN Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838 gardentradenews@tgcmc.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk THE GTN TEAM Editor Neil Pope neil.pope@tgcmc.co.uk Associate Editor Mike Wyatt mike.wyatt@gardentradenews.co.uk Managing Director Trevor Pfeiffer trevor.pfeiffer@gardentradenews.co.uk Publisher Mandy Davies mandy.davies@tgcmc.co.uk Advertising Alan Burdon alan.burdon@tgcmc.co.uk Ben Greenwood ben.greenwood@tgcmc.co.uk HOW TO SUBSCRIBE Subscriptions Tel 01733 775700 subscriptions@gardentradenews.co.uk

Subscription rates UK: £145 Subscription includes a password for full access to GTN Online plus a weekly copy of GTN Bestsellers OUR PUBLISHERS GTN is published by The Garden Communication & Media Company Ltd (TGCMC), who also publish: 4 www.gardentradenews.co.uk website and weekly GTN Xtra newsletter 4The Little Green Book, Official Glee Catalogue and Glee Daily News Online – the only official guides to the garden industry’s leading annual trade show SMALL PRINT All material © TGCMC 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. TGCMC Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any error or misrepresentation. All liability for loss, disappointment, negligence or other damage caused by reliance on information contained in this publication or in the event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is

St Albans to be UK Bunnings pilot

The Homebase store at St Albans is undergoing a re-fit before it re-opens with an expanded gardening department in February as the UK’s first Bunnings Warehouse. PJ Davies (left) of Bunnings UK & Ireland, part of the Australian Wesfarmers Group, which bought Homebase from Home Retail Group last year, said the St Albans pilot scheme will be the first of up to 10 stores to be re-branded during 2017. The re-fit will involve removing the mezzanine floor and expanding the covered plant sales area.

Wyevale forced to close Folkestone

Wyevale Garden Centres said it would have to close its Folkestone store after the site’s landlord served notice to terminate the lease, with effect from March next year. The site at Ingles Manor is set to be converted into private residences and office space after the proposal was granted planning permission by Shepway District Council. Up to 20 jobs are likely to go.

Centres gather in Paris for brainstorm

Independent garden centres know that 2017 and beyond will be a period of change. E-commerce will increasingly erode retail visits, BOPUS (Buy Online Pick Up In store) will develop further and consumers concerned about the future will create further issues that will effect change. Once in store, the new consumer asks WHY before HOW and as a result, we are about to see changes in the way goods are merchandised and sold in garden centres. A group of leading independent garden centre owners and directors are facing this challenge and the opportunities it brings by holding a two day gathering from the evening of 22 January until 24 January in Paris. The group from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech, Denmark, France, Holland, Switzerland, USA and UK, has been put together by John Stanley (above, pictured with his wife Linda) of John Stanley Associates. The aim is to develop new ideas to help them to grow their businesses by looking at new ways of marketing and business development. According to John, this is the first time such a global group has been brought together in one place to develop new ideas. At the time of writing there are 18 attendees with a ceiling of 25. If you would like to attend email John asap at john@johnstanley.com.au

to develop. Pat Coutts will continue as trade show director.

GCA moves head office to Chester

The Garden Centre Association moved its head office to Chester – near to the home of its chief executive Iain Wylie – following the relocation of the Horticultural Trade Association to Chilcot, Oxfordshire. The GCA says the decision by the HTA to move offices gave it the impetus to find an alternative headquarters too but that the collaborative bond between both organisations remains robust.

Explosions averted as centre blazes

Around 100 firefighters tackled a devastating fire at Ansell Garden Centre on Holloway Lane in West Drayton, averting the threat of explosions from gas cylinders and fireworks stored on site. Most of the two storey centre was alight and crews put a 300m safety cordon around the incident. No-one was injured. The centre re-opened for limited business a week later and rebuilding is expected to be completed by Easter.

GIMA & HTA buy Garden Press Event

The Garden Industry Manufacturers Association (GIMA) and the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) joined forces to purchase the garden industry’s media-facing Garden Press Event. Founded in 2006, the event brings together suppliers of garden products with trade and consumer editors from both print and broadcast outlets. The 2016 exhibition featured over 110 exhibitors.

Stewarts buy Titchfield’s Abbey centre

A week after gaining permission for expansion at their Wimborne Centre, Stewarts Garden Centres bought Abbey Garden Centre at Titchfield, Hampshire. The centre is next to the 11th Century Abbey in Titchfield and is less than a mile from Garsons Titchfield centre. Martin Stewart said: “We are thrilled, it's a project for sure... We have been so impressed with the atmosphere within the team. They really are a happy and hardworking group who have kept their team spirit up despite a severe lack of investment.”

Owner takes Four Oaks off the market

Following the announcement in September that Four Oaks Horticulture Ltd, owner of the Four Oaks Trade Show and Four Oaks Nurseries, was to be sold, MD Richard Harding instructed the selling agents Timothy Lea & Griffiths to take the business off the market. Instead, the management will be restructured to allow Harding to take semi retirement and enable the business

Full versions of these reports first appeared in GTN Xtra, our weekly e-newsletter mailed direct to registered email addresses to keep readers in touch with industry news as it happens. To register, send your email address to: trevor.pfeiffer@tgcmc.co.uk and put ‘GTN Xtra’ in the subject line.

hereby excluded.

10 DECEMBER 2016/JANUARY 2017 • CHRISTMAS & REVIEW OF THE YEAR • garden trade news

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Your pull-out-and-keep guide to the UK’s No 1 pet trade show Everything you need to know about....

PATS SANDOWN

8-PAGE SPECIAL


PATS Sandown provides the ultimate visitor experience Visitors to PATS Sandown in March 2017 will experience one of the biggest shows in the event’s eight-year history, with over 140 exhibitors, thousands of new products and a host of features sure to make it a memorable and profitable day out. Retailers and buyers attending the show at the Sandown Park Exhibition Centre in Esher, Surrey, on Tuesday, March 21, and Wednesday, March 22, can expect a warm welcome from exhibitors eager to showcase their products. Organiser Annie Foord said the pet industry continued to get right behind PATS Sandown. “Visitors to the show can be assured they will see and speak to the leading names in the industry, and early indications point towards lots of new products being launched at the show.” As well as meeting up with a long list of PATS regulars, visitors will be greeted by a host of new faces and new products. A growing number of companies are choosing to exhibit for the first time as they see PATS as the perfect opportunity to announce their plans for the year ahead. With pet departments increasing in popularity, buyers from garden centres will find the widest range of products being showcased anywhere in the UK. The New Products Showcase is a great way for visitors to see and touch the new products they will be stocking. In previous years more than 200 new items have been entered into the Showcase so it is the best place to view potential bestsellers. All items entered by manufacturers will be put forward for

the New Products Awards judged by a panel of pet retailers. And a free-to-attend series of seminars will cover topics aimed at giving retailers information and advice they can take back to their businesses. Some of the industry’s leading personalities have been lined up to deliver talks. There will also be a chance to earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for those people attending a special seminar by animal healthcare specialists Merial. PATS Sandown will see the return of the Grooming Workshops by popular demand after a two-year absence at the Surrey venue. Highly talented members of Groom Team England will be showing off their skills in the Esher Hall where visitors will be able to witness the expertise required to become an accomplished groomer. To help make the visitor experience even more enjoyable and rewarding, both the Surrey and Esher Halls have their own entrances and registration points, with visitors benefitting from free show entry, free parking, a free catalogue and many special offers. There will also be a wide range of food available from all the various outlets and all our visitors will receive a free cup of tea or coffee voucher, which will be redeemable all day. Those arriving before 10.30am will also get a free breakfast voucher. For the latest information on the show visit www.patshow.co.uk, or call the PATS hotline 01892 862848 Opening times Tuesday 21st March: 9.30am-5.30pm Wednesday 22nd March: 9.30am-4.30pm


Best place to see all the new pet products Winning an award in the PATS New Products Showcase can be the launchpad to huge sales. That’s according to companies whose new products have been recognised at previous exhibitions. Manufacturers can be confident that successful products have a great chance of becoming bestsellers because a panel of independent pet retailers decides the awards. And past winners admit that winning an award can certainly increase the profile of the items to the trade. The New Products Showcase is a great opportunity for visiting retailers to see the new products they will be stocking for the coming season.

The Showcase is designed to help them find the latest and most exciting products to hit the pet trade, as they are gathered together in one, extensive display in the Brasserie Bar, Surrey Hall. Once visitors have seen what they like, they then have the opportunity of visiting the stand of the manufacturer or supplier of that product to discuss it in more detail. There is an information card beside each product, giving details such as suggested retail price and where to find the supplier. All entries in the Showcase will judged by the panel of retailer judges for the New Products Awards on the first morning of the show, so the results will be known and

highlighted throughout the Surrey and Esher Halls for the rest of the exhibition. The Awards will be presented at the New Products Showcase display at lunchtime on Tuesday, March 21. Entries will be displayed under the following award categories 4Cat Product 4Dog Accessory Product 4Dog Food or Treat Product 4Bird Product 4Small Animal Product 4Pet Care Product 4Grooming Product 4Giftware Product


Natural nutrition Since 1993, Burns Pet Nutrition has offered natural, hypoallergenic dog food developed by Veterinary Surgeon, John Burns BVMS MRCVS. All food is balanced, highly palatable and made with the essential ingredients that dogs need for lifelong health. You won’t find any artificial chemicals or preservatives in Burns food, just natural nutrition designed for pets to thrive. Burns will be at stand number E1 at PATS 2017 and will offer exclusive show offers on the following ranges: Burns Weight Control+ (Chicken & Oats) Burns Sensitive+ (Pork & Potato or Duck & Brown Rice) Discover more about these ranges below: Burns Weight Control+ is designed to help dogs shed the pounds Pet obesity is a growing problem in the UK. In 2015, PDSA published a report estimating that by 2020 there will be more obese animals than healthy ones. A dog is considered overweight when it exceeds 10-20% of its ideal body weight. If owners cannot feel their dog’s ribs and the waist is starting to disappear, it’s sensible to consider a change in diet. Pet owners should avoid drastic measures such as starvation diets and instead find a low-fat, natural solution to ease their pet back to health. Burns Weight Control Chicken & Oats is a nutritional formula designed to help dogs reach and maintain an ideal weight. Containing low levels of protein and fat, Burns Weight Control features natural ingredients such as whole grain oats which are high in fibre ensuring that dogs feel fuller for longer. Additional ingredients include chicken, chicken oil, seaweed and vegetables designed to maintain a healthy skin and coat. Burns Sensitive+ offers naturally delicious sources of protein For dogs that suffer with ailments such as itchy skin or digestive problems as a result of common proteins such as chicken or fish, Burns offer two naturally delicious alternatives. Customers can choose from either Pork & Potato or Duck & Rice varieties. Both recipes are formulated without wheat, soya, dairy or artificial preservatives making them especially suitable for dogs with sensitive skin, digestion and common allergies. Trade Enquiries Interested in stocking Burns? Call the Burns trade team on 0800 018 18 90 or visit www.burnspet.co.uk to find out more.


Floorplan & list of exhibitors

Company Stand Almo Nature UK A7 Anco Distributors Ltd M3 Antos Ltd A1 Aqueos Care Ltd B2 Arden Grange Leander G5 Armitage Pet Care L5 Bartholomews Agri Food Ltd S7 Beaphar UK F13 BecoPets M1 Bern Pet Foods Ltd G9 Bob Martin (UK) Ltd G12 Bowl & Bone Republic A6 Bruno’s Parrot Warehouse K4 BSB Products Ltd B5 Burns Pet Nutrition Ltd E1 China Access International Ltd M11 Collarways T17

Company Stand Connolly’s Red Mills L14 Crate Ideas & Designs Ltd F4 Crown Petfoods E3 Crown Petfoods (2) E5 Danish Design Pet Products Ltd L1 Dorwest Herbs Ltd C11 Earthbound UK Ltd T8 Eden Holistic Pet Foods Ltd H6 Envirosmart Products Ltd C8 Ferplast (UK) Ltd D4 Fish4Dogs N11 Flexi B7 Fold Hill Foods Ltd C9 For All DogKind R5 Forthglade Foods Ltd J13 Frozzy’s K2 GA PetFood Partners L3

Company Stand Group55 L12 Grove Pet Foods Ltd J3 Hertford Shelving Ltd C6 Higher Nature K14 Hill’s Pet Nutrition Ltd J7 House of Paws T14 Inspired Pet Nutrition Ltd D3 Intelligent Retail E11 Johnson’s Veterinary Products D7 Johnston and Jeff Ltd M5 Kennelpak Pet Food Ltd E13 Kevin Milner Countryside R3 Kittyrama Ltd F9 KONG Company Ltd M9 Kruuse UK Ltd D1 Lennox UK Limited S5 Lift Safe Ltd K3 Lintbells Ltd H5 Loving Pets UK H1 Marriages Specialist Foods Ltd T15 Mars Petcare UK H3 McAdams Pet Foods Ltd H4 Merial Animal Health Ltd G10 MPM Products Ltd G3 Mr Johnson’s F1 B3 My Pet Natural Instinct Ltd A9 Natures Menu Ltd T16 Nutriment Ltd T5 P&B Gora Ltd T/A Gor Pets N1 PBW News F5 PDSA S4 Pedigree Wholesale (2) D9 Pero (Foods) Ltd K15 Pet Food (UK) Ltd B4 Pet Munchies Ltd E7 Pet Rebellion Ltd E12 Pet Remedy K5 Pet Revolution G4 Petlife International Ltd E8 PetSafe G1 Pettex Ltd L10 PetQuip N8


Top grooming displays PATS Sandown will see the return of the Grooming Workshops by popular demand after a two-year absence at the Spring exhibition. Highly talented members of Groom Team England will be showing off their skills in the Esher Hall where visitors will be able to witness the expertise required to become an accomplished groomer. As well as being informative, each demonstration is also entertaining with the groomers pulling out all the stops to make their ‘models’ look stunning. Commentaries on the demonstrations will be provided by Diana North.

Strong seminar line-up PATS Sandown has secured a strong line-up of speakers for two days of seminars designed to give pet retailers ahead-ofthe-game ideas on new lines, new approaches and new profit potential. The talks, produced in association with Pedigree Wholesale, will take place in the Seminar Theatre in the Esher Hall of Sandown Park Exhibition Centre on both days of the show – Tuesday and Wednesday, March 21-22, 2017. The free-to-attend series of seminars will cover a wide range of topics and be delivered by some of the industry’s leading experts. There will also be a chance to earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points for those people attending a special seminar by animal healthcare specialists Merial. The CPD points will go towards the ongoing development of Suitably Qualified People (SQP) working in the pet industry.

Company Stand Pooch and Mutt F15 PPM A2 Primenove SRL A5 R & L Pet Products Ltd C13 SAI Global R9 Schur Star Systems T9 Shenzhen Water World Co. Ltd S16 Sky Pet Products Ltd A3 Sniffers Pet Care H15 Su-Bridge Pet Supplies Ltd E9 Supa Ltd K13 Symply Pet Foods L9 TarHong G7 The Company of Animals N6 Town and Country Covers Ltd L4 Trilanco Ltd C14 Trixie S9 Unipet International Ltd J1 (accurate at time of going to press)


in touch

Interest in all things British The second of two GIMA Day Conferences of 2016 saw over 90 delegates enjoying talks from industry experts, networking opportunities, and the chance to meet representatives from Wilko and British Garden Centres Group. The event was hosted at Clumber Park Hotel and Spa near Worksop, Nottinghamshire. The conference was opened by Josh McBain from the Future Foundation, who spoke on the implications of the UK economy post-Brexit, with key projections and how this might impact on the garden industry. “Although it is still unclear what the government has planned, this is not a UK-only story, this is part of a wider narrative. Due to rising anti-EU sentiment and the mainstream view of the union as a poor deal for leading economies, we are more than likely headed for a hard Brexit, as the EU will want to deter other countries from following suit. Josh added: “The pound will continue to affect inflation and therefore consumer spending, and with crude oil prices expected to recover from an artificial low the price of manufacturing is set to increase. However, there has been a significant boost in tourism for the UK, which is expected to rise by 7% in 2017, with £2.4bn forecasted to be spent by Brits taking staycations. “There is an opportunity for UK businesses to capitalise on this renewed interest in all things British and revitalise their brand accordingly.” Philippa Stubbs, Managing Director of British Garden Centres, echoed these thoughts: “Increased domestic tourism is certainly giving us a real boost. Not only are most of our 10 garden centres all within easy reach of each other, but we also own a leisure park, where customers stay and then include the garden centre as part of their staycation activities. Garden centres actually present a very attractive low cost family outing - so long as there are adequate play facilities and versatile, well-run restaurant areas.” Wilko Chief Operating Officer Sean Toal

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underlined his business’ objectives for the future, touching on some key aspects for suppliers to take into consideration. Hard working families, ‘Empty nesters’ and university students are key demographics for the company, he said, and with that a greater need to educate customers to help them save time and money. The Wilko buying team followed their COO with a presentation that provided further insight into the business for the benefit of suppliers in attendance. Wilko senior buyer Kate McCartney revealed that during the last 12 months, in the garden and outdoor category 40 million units sold generating £115 million worth of sales. The company’s 400 stores are located in a wide variety of locations, from urban shopping malls to out of town shopping destinations, with plans to open more in 2017. Digital sales were becoming especially important she said, with 20% of sales accounted for online. Lloyd Taylor, head of garden and outdoor buying at Wilko, talked in detail about

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omnichannel retailing: “More than ever suppliers need to embrace digital. The lines that perform well online, believe me, if they are right for our customer, will feed through to the shelf. We consider digital and bricks and mortar as not just the sum of its parts but something much greater, and a fundamental part of the customer experience.” Own brand ranges are worth £850m a year to Wilko, who would like to work more with suppliers on creating further ranges that are quality and value for money. But equally important, especially to their customers, said Lloyd, were brands: “We can’t credibly sell own brand products such as ferts and chems, unless we have built a reputation on supplying trusted brands. We want the big brands, and in general a well edited range that doesn’t overwhelm our customers.” The next GIMA AGM/Day Conference will be held on the 23rd March 2016 at Horticulture House, Chilton, Oxfordshire.

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Garden industry news, views and people

Festive cheer for Barton Grange & Castle Gardens Barton Grange and Castle Gardens are the national winners of the 2016 Garden Centre Association’s annual Christmas competition. The garden centres were judged to have the best festive displays in the country by the organisation and will receive their awards at the GCA annual conference in January. Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, said: “We are extremely impressed with the standard of entries this year, they just seem to get better. “This year, our judge, Andy Campbell, visited every entrant to determine the area and national winners. It was a tough choice as the displays were so fantastic but we’d like to congratulate Barton Grange in Lancashire, who won in the Destination Garden Centre (DGC) category, and Castle Gardens in Dorset who scooped the top

Barton Grange. prize in the Garden Centre (GC) section of the awards.” The garden centres were judged on the innovation, inspiration and excitement created from the way their

Christmas products are displayed. The range of products available, accessibility, how easy it is for customers to find and select products and ‘wow factor’ were also taken into

consideration in an assessment of the overall commercial proposition. The area winners in the South Thames area were Ransoms Garden Centre (DGC) and Castle Gardens (GC). In Wales and West Whitehall Garden Centre – Lacock (DGC) and Whitehall – Whitchurch (GC) were chosen. In North Thames, the area winners were Van Hage Great Amwell (DGC) and Sunshine Garden Centre (GC) while St Peter’s (DGC) and Fairways – Ashbourne (GC) were selected in the Midlands area. Barton Grange (DGC) and Fron Gogh Garden Centre (GC) were selected in the North West and in Scotland and Northern Ireland, Donaghadee Garden Centre (GC) was chosen. The GCA represents nearly 200 garden centres nationwide. Through sharing information and its inspections it helps members to achieve high standards. The GCA’s annual conference will be held at St Andrews in Scotland between January 22 and 25, 2017. More than 300 delegates are expected to attend the event. For a full preview turn to page 28.

Castle Gardens’ Christmas display.

GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards - p22 Harrogate Christmas & Gift Fair Preview - p24-26 20 DECEMBER 2016/JANUARY 2107

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in touch

Garden industry news, views and people

Find out who’s The Greatest You can discover who are the real winners at Christmas because tickets are now on sale for GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards Party in January. Come and join us for the party of the year in Harrogate on Sunday 8th. A three course meal with reception drinks and wine is followed by the awards presentations and dancing to a live band. It’s the ideal opportunity to combine a buying trip to the Harrogate Christmas & Gift show with a great night out in the company of industry friends and Greatest Award winners. And after a record breaking Christmas period what better way to thank your team and motivate them for next year than to buy them tickets for GTN’s Greatest Christmas Party in the Majestic Hotel, Harrogate?

GTN’s The Greatest Christmas Awards are sponsored by...

The prices for GTN’s Greatest Christmas Awards Party at The Majestic are as follows: Single £84 + VAT per person 3+ £80 + VAT per person 5+ £76 + VAT per person 10 £72 + VAT per person Call The Greatest Awards team on 01733 775700 or e-mail harry.sinclair@tgcmc.co.uk to book your place.

Here’s your chance to win 2 tickets to The Greatest Awards Dinner and accommodation plus access to the Harrogate Christmas & Gift Show. All you have to do is answer: the following are lyrics from which Christmas songs ? A – She didn’t see me creep down the stairs to have a peep... B – Once bitten and twice shy I keep my distance... C – In the lane the snow is glistenin... D - The choir of children sing their song they practiced all year long... 22

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Win two tickets to the Greatest Christmas Party Just send your answers on a postcard to Greatest Christmas Awards Competition, Garden Trade News, The Old School, 4 Crowland Road, Eye, Peterborough, PE6 7TN. Or e-mail your entry to: mandy.davies@tgcmc.co.uk editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


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theme of the month

Christmas

Countdown to the UK’s The UK’s favourite trade show for everyone involved in the festive and gift market – from garden centres, department stores, independent retailers right through to UK visitor attractions and hospitality venues – is fast approaching, with just a couple of weeks until Harrogate Christmas & Gift. The show is proving one of the fastest growing trade shows for this sector, with both exhibitor and visitor numbers increasing significantly in the last five years. For 2017 the exhibition has expanded into two further halls of the Harrogate International Centre offering visitors eight halls jammed packed with quality products. Simon Anslow, show organiser, explains: “The timing of Harrogate Christmas & Gift makes it perfect for garden centre buyers in particular; and with the diversity of products that these outlets now offer, has attracted exhibitors from numerous sectors. The show not only offers an unrivalled array of Christmas decorations and associated products; but everything from interior and exterior furnishings and ornaments and gifts for all occasions.” Harrogate Christmas & Gift welcomes a host of new exhibitors for the 2017 show and having completely sold out its original hall allocation of A, B, C, D, H and M at the Harrogate International Centre in Harrogate, has now opened a further two exhibition halls – Kings Suite and Hall Q. Visitor footfall has seen significant yearon-year growth since 2010 and the show now professes to be an annual favourite with garden centre buyers in particular. Whilst catering very much for the festive market, products on display are wide and diverse covering everything from indoor and outdoor furniture and décor to garden ware and gifts for all occasions. Simon Anslow added: “Harrogate Christmas & Gift has always been the number one UK show for Christmas buyers and attracts visitors from a number of

News from exhibitors Create your Christmas story Premier Decorations, which will once again fill Hall H of the Harrogate International Centre in its entirety, can thank its talented in‐house designers for its beautiful collection of 2017 Christmas Stories. These are a range of products from baubles and hanging decorations; candle holders and plaques; to floral and table decorations in colour schemes to complement and co‐ordinate and create a harmonized effect for the home. There are eight Christmas Stories to choose 24

from, including Noel Splendour with ‘on trend’ contemporary colours with a classic twist; Believe with vibrant colours guaranteed to instil excitement including the highly collectible ‘Elves’ range’; Snowflake Wishes with icy tones which are all the rage for 2017; and Grand Christmas with all the glamour of Hollywood with dark purple, burgundy and red tones. Your story could begin by requesting Premier’s Christmas Stories brochure now which will put you in an excellent position when visiting the show.

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Halloween is as much for adults as it is for children, with families across the UK dressing their homes with spooky accessories. Premier’s latest Halloween collections add a touch of class to this supernatural occasion, with quality decorations and accessories to appeal to all. Wooden ornaments and wall plaques include battery operated pumpkins and ghosts; and a selection of colourful metal embossed accessories such as ‘Happy Halloween’ wall displays and Halloween garden stakes. There is also a selection of quality ceramic battery operated decorations with scary skulls, cheerful pumpkins and even a wise old owl. Visit Premier Decorations in Hall H. editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


theme of the month

favourite festive show sectors. However, with a large number of garden centre buyers attending – and as garden centres are now very much a family destination – exhibitors are seeing growing demand for all sorts of products from toys and books, ornaments and gifts to even food and drink ranges.” New exhibitors for 2017 include Boland, with hats, wigs, party decorations and accessories; Joe Davies hardware and fancy goods distributor; Libra with interior design accessories, home and giftware, lighting, furniture and wall décor; Culinary Concepts with furniture, gifts and everything for a perfectly dressed dinner table; and Crystal World – manufacturers and importers of glass, crystal and giftware. Herman De Greef with garden products; and NKUKU with homeware and gifts. Visit www.harrogatefair.com

Two trees from the National Tree Company’s impressive range.

60 new lines from National Tree Co Norfolk Leisure in partnership National Tree Company is delighted to announce the availability of new and exciting innovations for 2017. As the leading supplier of artificial Christmas trees, National Tree offers the most advanced technologies on an extensive range of high quality items. You may be familiar with some of their more recent well-known innovations, including Feel Real PE branch tips that are so realistic in appearance and to the touch, it is very difficult to tell the difference between Feel Real trees and their living twins. National Tree also pioneered the multi-function Dual Color LED light strings that allow for up editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

to nine different light options including steady warm white, steady multi-color, warm white fades into multi-color, fading, and flashing, providing consumers with the option to change the color and function of their tree with just a touch of the foot pedal. Harrogate 2017 will see the launch of over 60 new lines with focus on Memory Wire trees that arrive with customers perfectly shaped and do not require any fuss and Trees that feature PowerConnect that no longer require the multiple light string and extension cord connections between tree sections. Electrical connections are made through the tree center poles. These pole-to-pole connections reduce set-up time and add to the ease of garden trade news

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assembling the tree. Shown for the first time at Harrogate Christmas & Gift Exhibition this January are new Feel Real trees are at an exceptional price and really something to get excited about, including Feel Real Newburgh Douglas Spruce & Feel Real Princeton Fraser Fir. A visit to the National Tree stand B15 is essential to see the most advanced selection of artificial Christmas trees available on the market! 4For more information on these exciting new developments please contact a representative from National Tree Company sales@nationaltree.com or the Norfolk Leisure team on christmas@norfolkleisure.co.uk.

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Dead & Breakfast Boland Party is new to the show this year, but not new to the party market, as it is one of the largest party product distributors in Europe. Established in 1970, this Dutch company has over 4000 stock keeping units of party, dress up and Halloween. In 2017, Boland will be featuring its ‘excitingly frightening‘ Halloween range, which is one of the largest in Europe – which is great news as Halloween is now the third biggest retail event in the UK after Christmas and Easter. It is the second biggest party night after New Year’s Eve and is probably the fastest growing event of all, growing from approximately £12 million in 2001 to nearly £450 million in 2015. Prepare to be scared – or just amused, but most of all come and see the huge opportunities this extraordinary market offers. Visit Boland on Stand C24 For pleasure or treasure Herman De Greef classics are packed with delight and perceived as real keepsakes, with Stylys – an enchanting collection of modern day classics in porcelain and fine filigree

Christmas

metals ranging from candle ornaments to stand-alone room accents. There is also a wide range of carousels, Christmas countdown candles, filigree and porcelain tea light holders and much more. The company has a whole host of new products, incentives on placing early orders as well as season discounts on its Fauna tea lights, hurricane lanterns and candelabra. It also offers a totally bespoke product service where you can re-design your own gift. Visit Herman De Greef on Stand Q25 Festive accessories An exciting new exhibitor at Harrogate Christmas & Gift is North Wales-based company Stands Out which supplies pocket money children’s gifts – all designed by its own innovative team –to attractions and gift shops all over Europe. The company will be displaying its brand new range of JingleBell Jewellery, which includes individually designed Christmas character pop-watches with matching jewellery and hair accessories. All of its products are presented in bespoke wooden display stands. Visit Stands Out on Stand KS10

Countdown is on Two fabulous new products from Ackerman International include The Good Elf and Birthday Buddy. Both products are designed to help children countdown to the big day – whether that is Christmas or their birthday. These incredibly cute characters come with fun interactive activities where adults can reward children with stickers for good behaviour ensuring that they get a special treat on the special day. Visit Ackerman International on stand Q07 Glamour and Glitz Christmas is the perfect excuse to decorate homes and Widdop and Co is doing all it can to help make that happen. The company has created nine carefully curated Christmas themes with glitz and glamour summed up in its Black and Gold collection boasting an ultra luxurious look that is both modern and merry. Bring the outdoors indoors with its Woodland collection and think Narnia and snow-covered forests and be inspired by the wintry outdoors to create a cosy woodland themed interior. Visit Widdop on Stand B13 Mildly scary Halloween has to be a little bit scary – but it doesn’t have to be nightmarish. So Gisela Graham spares the horror and offers instead good fun: mildly ghoulish, scene-setting props for grown-up Halloween parties – a craze that’s getting ever more popular. Plus all that children (and mothers) need for kids’ Halloween parties and trick-or-treating: witches’ hats, masks, goodie bags, and all kinds of spooky accessories. Visit Gisela Graham on Stand M14/M16 Clearing up confusion Bonningtons is clearing up the confusion surrounding Christmas lights with new colour coded packaging to facilitate category selection for retail buyers making the consumer experience less bewildering. The huge brand and product changes at Bonningtons continue to ripple through the business and customers will be able to see the new developments in the Kingfisher Christmas brand at Harrogate Christmas & Gift. In building the new range for 2017 Kingfisher has set out to de-mystify the massively complex string light sector and build a clear product segmentation and hierarchy. It has translated this into colour coded packs with critical information presented in an instantly understandable format. Visit Bonningtons on Stand B04

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insight pLANNING AdvIce By TrACy HUBBArD OF mALCOm SCOTT CONSULTANTS

your guide to planning conditions I have previously reported on changes being considered by the Government to the way in which planning conditions are used in the planning system. Consideration of the matter continues, with the Neighbourhood Planning Bill currently in the House of Commons at the committee stage. The Bill seeks to flesh out details of the Government’s aim to ensure the Local Planning Authorities only impose pre-commencement conditions where they are absolutely necessary. A ‘pre-commencement’ condition is a condition requiring compliance of its terms prior to the beginning of any building or operational development or to the beginning of a change of use. The draft section of the Act provides that “planning permission for the development of the land may not be granted subject to a pre-commencement condition without the written agreement of the applicant to the terms of the conditions”. It then, however, goes on to state that there may be “prescribed circumstances” where the applicant’s agreement is not required. The Government’s thinking behind the changes to the system was to do away with excessive numbers of sometimes onerous conditions holding up the development process, with its obvious impact on employment growth and economic benefits. However, following consultation certain members of the construction/ development market are raising concerns that the need for consultation regarding pre-commencement conditions could lengthen these delays, as a result of long-winded negotiation. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be.

The cost of ‘Costs’ At planning appeals Costs may be awarded against a party which is perceived to have behaved unreasonably at the expense of the other party irrespective of the outcome of the appeal. An independent research paper by Property Consultants, Daniel Watney, based on a Freedom of Information request has found that a group of 217 Councils (out of 418 asked) across the UK have paid out almost £12 million in costs at planning appeals between 2010 and 2016. It would be interesting to know what the cost of ‘Costs’ was for the private sector during the same period?

A question of when to plan On a less technical note, many people say that they “don’t do politics”, but it has been said that life is politics or politics is life. Similar can be said of planning….. Whether it is deciding what time you have to be up to catch your train, open your business, or receive a delivery, to when you want your new building to be up, running and open/operating for trade, it all involves planning. Land use planning is no different there are goals to be achieved and a desired time frame for them to be delivered. Be it a Local Planning Authority seeking to meet its housing targets, or an individual business seeking to expand, as with the alarm clock it is good planning to work backwards from the ‘finishing line’. The town planning process can take longer than anticipated to deliver, so it is well to have a long term plan incorporating time for good preparation, potential delays in the determination process and post permission hold ups such as planning conditions, ground conditions etc. At the time of writing many readers will be deeply ensconced in Christmas, once you come up for air it may be time to think about where you want to be this time next year.

GIMA director Vicky Nuttall looks back on 2016 - p29 editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

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CHRISTMAS & REVIEW OF THE YEAR l DECEMBER 2016/JanuaRy 2017 27


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GCA conference

Is ‘the extraordinary often surprisingly normal’?

Comedian to host conference awards dinner

Garden centre delegates will be asked to consider if the extraordinary is often surprisingly normal when they attend the Garden Centre Association annual conference in January. Writer and leadership expert Rasmus Ankersen, who has been dubbed ‘the high performance anthropologist’, will be posing some thought provoking topics when he takes to the podium on Tuesday, January 24. Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “Rasmus is a fascinating speaker with plenty to say that resonates with our industry. He has worked and trained with some of the world’s best athletes to understand and contribute to how they work, and it’s his successes here that he has been able to bring to the world of business. “Rasmus looks at leadership and high performance from a different perspective, finding patterns, examining the big data and realising that the extraordinary is often surprisingly normal and imitable. He delivers real, tangible lessons to audiences with verve, enthusiasm and wit. I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say and how it impacts on our industry.” A former footballer, who trained as a UEFA-accredited coach and serves as CoDirector of Football at Brentford FC, Rasmus (above right) has lived and trained with Jamaican sprinters, Brazilian footballers and African long-distance runners. The conference, which will include talks, industry updates and opportunities to socialise, takes place at St Andrews in Scotland from January 22 until 25. The event kicks off on Sunday, January 22 with an afternoon of fundraising activities for the charity Greenfingers. Two teams will go head-to-head to battle it out for the Greenfingers Challenge Cup. Monday’s part of the conference will focus on the operational side of the industry and will include talks from a range of inspiring and engaging business speakers to help motivate delegates for the year ahead. During the day on Tuesday there will be more of a focus on the strategic element of business, with opportunities to listen to

Radio and TV comedian Fred MacAulay will be compering the GCA conference awards’ dinner next month. The Highland wit and BBC Scotland stalwart will host the annual event on Tuesday, January 24 at St Andrews. Iain Wylie, Chief Executive of the GCA, said: “Fred originally studied at the University of Dundee and graduated with an MA in Accountancy and Jurisprudence. He was also a Rector of the university, so you might think he’d be an unlikely candidate for becoming a comedian, but not so! “He took the stand-up comedy scene by storm in the early 1990s and has gone on to become a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe and at comedy festivals worldwide. “He has also appeared on many Radio 4 comedy panel shows including ‘I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, ‘Just A Minute’, ‘The Unbelievable Truth’ and ‘The News Quiz’ and has hosted live stand-up tours nationwide.” For nearly 18 years he presented ‘MacAulay and Co.’ on BBC Radio Scotland and can boast a string of TV appearances on both sides of the border. “Fred’s on air witticisms and on screen reputation are the product of years of experience on the live circuit, including a stint as the first ever-Scottish compere at the Comedy Store in London.”

some inspirational speakers and a chance to experience the associate’s exhibition. Retail consultant Karl McKeever who appeared on BBC TV’s ‘Alex Polizzi – The Fixer’ will be speaking on how garden centres can improve their customer experience and their commercial performance. One of Britain’s most highly regarded sailors and a true adventurer will be giving tips on competitive tenacity and the will to win. Pete Goss MBE attempted a world record with the revolutionary Team Philips catamaran. Sadly it was brought to grief during Atlantic trials by freak waves of such velocity that they halted the progress of the 120ft boat – larger than the centre court at Wimbledon. In recognition of his heroism and outstanding seamanship, Pete has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur and an MBE. A world renowned behavioural economist, award-winning Financial Times columnist and BBC broadcaster will be offering an insight into the economics of daily life. Tim Harford will be bringing storytelling, humour and intelligence to the oft-maligned discipline of economics when he appears before delegates at the event. More than 300 delegates are expected to attend the event. For more information call 01244 952170, or visit www.gca.org.uk.

Switch on to Gardman trees for Christmas 2017 Gardman launches the first phase of its 2017 Christmas Emporium in January with a comprehensive range of 40 artificial Christmas trees taking centre stage. The updated line-up features a number of new designs, including the Pre-lit Kindersley Tree, Pre-Lit Christmas Centrepiece and an Automatic Adjustable Tree Stand. The Kindersley is a natural-looking tree with pine cones and red berries, pre-lit with warm white LEDs. It comes in a full-colour box with carry handle.

Uniquely, all Gardman’s trees are sourced from a single factory, enabling buyers to create a mixed container in any combination. The trees, available now as pre-sell lines, can be viewed at Gardman’s Peterborough showroom from 3 January and can be ordered online. The second phase of Gardman’s Christmas Emporium 2017, to be launched in June to run alongside the Autumn/Winter Event sell-in, will feature outdoor solar lighting, festive doormats..

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editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk


Business matters

back office

2016

the Gima awards were one of the highlights of 2016.

What a year that was...

Unbelievably this is the last column I’ll write in 2016. The year has gone by in the blink of an eye, as a hectic schedule of events took place, a full summer of good trading and, of course, Brexit and Trump, to thank for that! There is no doubt that Brexit and prices have dominated much of the conversation in 2016, which I’m sure will continue as we head into 2017. In the latter part of the year, big players such as Tesco and Unilever led the headlines as the impact of a post-Brexit Britain started to take hold. It may have led to some comical ‘Marmitegate’ moments on social media but importantly it demonstrated that even some of the biggest retailers and brands aren’t exempt from the pressures that Brexit has placed on the supply chain. But Brexit doesn’t have to spell disaster – in fact, for the UK supply base it can offer some significant export opportunities. The low pound means that European and wider international retailers will be clamouring to do business with British suppliers, helping to put UK gardening back on the world stage. However, back on home turf the low pound is opening up a lot of questions. Inflation looks to be on the rise, but wages are remaining static which may affect consumer spending habits. Rising prices would see families and the under-30s editorial@gardentradenews.co.uk

vicky Nuttall Director of Gima

hit hardest, with spending on big ticket items being delayed until prices stabilise. With this in mind, how will garden sales be affected, if at all? With garden centres’ key demographic being reasonably inflation-proof my gut is telling me ‘no’, but only time will tell. Summer has been a mixed bag for many, with prolonged rainfall across the north and the annual heatwave promised by the media but not delivered by the man in the sky. However, with consumer confidence seemingly staying fast,

and after one of the mildest Octobers on record, garden centres continued to trade well. Many GIMA members have been reporting that orders were still being placed; an unusual but extremely welcome change to the normal trading patterns. An extended season can only stand us in good stead for the year to come. As we look to 2017 it seems that gardening is starting to regain its position as a primetime part of British culture. With the Great British Bake Off leaving the BBC there is a great opportunity for gardening to fill this gap. This is already beginning to happen with Gardeners’ World, with all its programmes set to be an hour in duration come next Spring, as well as being under the watchful eye of Paulo Proto, executive producer of hit shows such as Masterchef and GBBO. Its content is also starting to broaden. By making the content more accessible to the masses, including topics such as smaller gardens, urban spaces etc, the hope is that a wider audience will engage with not only the programme itself but also gardening. The result should be a prolonged boost to sales throughout the gardening year. For GIMA as a membership body, the future is also looking bright. We’ve witnessed another year of growth in our membership numbers in 2016, but more importantly our

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member base is continuing to broaden. GIMA now represents more than just core gardening products, reflective of the diversity of product on offer within garden centres. We also have a great calendar of events lined up for the next 12 months, all of which are designed to arm both suppliers and retailers with the tools that they need to build better, more profitable businesses. Making good on our promise to work more closely with other trade bodies, we have of course also entered into an exciting new era in purchasing the Garden Press Event jointly with the HTA. We hope that our involvement with the event will help to bring members closer to the opportunities that can so effectively boost awareness for brands and products. It really has been a great year, and I’d like to thank everyone at GIMA and the wider industry for helping to make this happen. The positivity, eagerness to learn and adapt, as well as the desire to innovate, has all been inspiring and energising for the industry, and I hope it continues throughout 2017. To keep up to date with GIMA news, visit the GIMA website, get in touch with the GIMA office on 01959 564947 or email info@gima.org.uk

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Garden Trade News Dec-Jan 16-17