GTN February 2021 - Garden Trade News, UK

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gtn FEBRUARY 2021

Adviice & infformattion for garden centre professionals

gardentradenews.co.uk

Get set for

Garden Re-Leaf Day

March 19th

New Council Line up for L OFA

WHAT LIES AHEAD FOR 2021?

Brexit and all that

Weath hering g the Perfe ect Sto orm

Perfect Opportunity for Pla nt Sales



GTN COMMENT

Hope Springs Eternal As this issue goes to press, Boris Johnson has just announced that in England, all the data moving in the right direction, people should be able to meet up at Easter in their gardens. Thank you. What we now need is for the weather to behave itself and hope that we have enough stock to keep up with demand. If the weather is good from Garden Re-Leaf Day, 19th March, through to the Easter weeks, that could provide a bumper harvest for garden centres in contrast to the complete lack of sales last year when centres had to close as part of Lockdown #1. Stock availability, as well as the weather, could be the key as to whether we see a record year for garden centre sales, GTN Bestsellers predicts sales could be up by as much as 20% with a fair wind. As you’ll read in this issue, container delivery issues are taking their toll on stock arriving from the far east and Brexit border issues are causing havoc with some plant deliveries.

But all is not well for all UK garden centres. Centres in the devolved administrations are still not allowed to open. Our thoughts go out to them t and their customers who are missing m out on the opportunity to get g gardening for all the physical and mental m health benefits our activity brings. b There are petitions running in i Scotland and Wales to call on their governments g to allow them to reopen o as soon as possible, and ideally before b Easter. Please help them by signing s the petitions, there are links on o page 9. The cold weather and “stay at home” instructions have meant we’ve had a slow start to the year but just as the crocus and daffodils start to come into bloom you can feel the energy is there for a great gardening year. Happy Garden Re-Leaf Day, Mothers Day and Easter!

All Products Volume Sales Index Full Years 2011 - 2020

EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Garden Trade News Potting Shed Press Ltd Dairy Drove Thorney Peterborough PE6 0TX Tel 01733 775700 www.gardentradenews.co.uk THE GTN TEAM Editor Trevor Pfeiffer trevor@pottingshedpress.co.uk Advertising Sales Alan Burdon Alan@pottingshedpress.co.uk Associate Editor Mike Wyatt mike@pottingshedpress.co.uk Digital Editor Neil Pope neil@pottingshedpress.co.uk Subscriptions Karen Pfeiffer karen@pottingshedpress.co.uk Design & Production AT Graphics Ltd www.atgraphicsuk.com Kirsty Craner – Design Alun Jones – Production Manager Robert Tipping – Managing Director James Tipping – Technical Director Printing CG Print Ltd Do you qualify for a copy of GTN?

If you’d like to be added to the GTN distribution list, please send your details to Karen@pottingshedpress. co.uk to see if you qualify to be included. Alternatively, if you prefer your Garden Trade News digitally, sign up for GTN Xtra, our weekly e-mail newsetter at www.gardentradenews.co.uk And, if you want the fastest garden centre sales analysis, take out a subscription to GTN Bestsellers our printed weekly sales data newsletter. For just £145.00 per year you get Top 50 sales charts created from weekly garden centre epos data. Contact trevor@pottingshedpress.co.uk for more details and to subscribe.

Potting Shed Press Ltd 2011

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In this issue

Patio Black Spot – the Winning Fomula Weathering the Perfect Storm – Brexit and all that New line up for LOFA Council Contemporary style from Firmans Primeur – the one to watch for 2021 Get Set for Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021

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Why Meadow View Stone are fuelling growth Cultivation Street’s 9th year How will the Lockdown Gap be filled? GTN Bestsellers Top 100 Garden Products of 2020 Last chance to see the Woodlodge Snowlodge HTA Column – Perfect Opportunity for Plant Sales

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Garden Trade News is published by Potting Shed Press Ltd who also publish: GTN Bestsellers, GTN Xtra, Glee Daily News and the Glee Catalogue, and the Solex Sun. Potting Shed Press also supply Garden Radio to over 100 garden centres across the country.

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Director Trevor Pfeiffer SMALL PRINT: All material © Potting Shed Press Ltd 2021. No part of this publication may e reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information supplied in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. Potting Shed Press 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 vent of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cassation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

February 2021 5


THE NEW NORMAL

Weathering the Perfect Storm With the combined situation of the COVID pandemic and Brexit, the challenges for the industry have never been greater. As we are all aware the UK left the EU at 11 pm on 31 December 2020. So less than two months on how is the new trading situation impacting the garden retail and horticulture sector?

6 February 2021

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Fraught, confusing, expensive, frustrating – these are just some of the words being used to describe the new normal. So what are the challenges, how are they to be resolved and how are people and businesses coping? What will be the impact on the season ahead? What are the positives? All of this comes on top of the current trading position during the latest lockdown. Whilst garden centres in England have been allowed to continue trading as essential retailers this has not been the case in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The HTA continue to make the case to the respective Governments for garden centres to be reopened at the earliest opportunity. With Spring fast approaching it remains to be seen what the impact will be in the months ahead. Importing issues Trade has experienced the double blow of the impact of the COVID pandemic along with Brexit. With many companies anticipating issues around Brexit the last few months of 2020 saw a huge increase in the volume of goods being imported to the UK. At the same time, the COVID situation


THE NEW NORMAL

GIMA comments

Vicky Nuttall, GIMA Director summarises the situation from the GIMA viewpoint (see Vicky’s column in the January issue for further information). “Suppliers are reporting a huge pre-season fill into centres ahead of another strong year for gardening, but it’s not without its issues. We’re likely to see delays on some imported lines through to March, if not longer. The well-documented shortage of containers is also being hampered by delays and backlogs at many of the ports with post-Brexit customs issues. With such strong demand, suppliers are now forecasting farther ahead than ever, ordering well into Autumn and some into 2022 already. Covid is, of course, a challenge, with staff absences due to track and trace and self-isolation hampering productivity. Suppliers are also having to continually review their pricing with increasing pressures on freight and container costs as well as commodity and currency fluctuations. Further price increases may be ahead.”

has disrupted global shipping supply chains resulting in a shortage of shipping containers. In turn, this has led to the cost of shipping goods from China and the Far East skyrocketing to levels never seen before. In many cases, they are four times as high as they were in October 2020. As a result garden retailers have been faced with cost increases from suppliers as shipping costs of products and raw materials escalate. Whilst initially some have tried to absorb these costs the exponential increases give them no choice to pass them on or share them where possible. Many of these increases are likely to be passed onto consumers as retailers strive to maintain already tight margins in the current economic environment. LOFA’s view Garden furniture is just one of the key product categories impacted by this situation. The Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) have highlighted how Brexit border issues are causing major concerns for their members. LOFA Marketing Manager Gina Hinde comments that the deal struck with the EU is proving to be not as frictionless as

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the industry had hoped. LOFA members are reporting of difficulties importing and exporting post Brexit, due to delays and complex paperwork requirements at the UK border. Before Christmas deliveries were taking a maximum of 1 week to reach the UK, but hauliers have now increased average estimated lead times to a minimum of 3-4 weeks. A number of the larger logistics companies are refusing to deliver to the UK unless they have full loads which can clear customs without touching bonded warehouses. This is because freight forwarded bonded warehouses are facing a backlog due to a build-up of trailers waiting to be unpacked. As a result, orders can now be delayed for in excess of 2 weeks whilst they wait to be processed. Significant business has been and will be lost because some Irish customers importing from Europe are using the ferry from Dunkirk to Rosslare, rather than using transport systems through the UK. Borders are undermanned and there are just not enough staff to cope with the increased documentation checks. This coupled with the new systems that were triggered on the 1st January which importers, exporters and hauliers are saying are convoluted and over-

February 2021 7


THE NEW NORMAL complicated, are causing issues at point of entry because of incorrect paperwork. This is further compounded by a software update delay by the HMRC which means the current system is not up to coping with the demands needed for the new controls. Tariff charges have increased for both imports and exports and in some cases doubled if the country of origin is outside Europe, which means sales are affected at every stage of the journey. There is a new £50 charge levied for each custom declaration plus a further tariff charge for each line item on an import document. This means that for some, drop shipping direct from Europe will no longer be viable. Drivers and hauliers are reluctant to travel to the UK in case they have to quarantine for 14 days, Hauliers are telling us that it is chaos out there with long delays and unprecedented disruption. One company said that it has turned out to be… ”worse than the worst-case scenario they had ever imagined.” LOFA go on to say: “The new regulations that have been imposed as a result of Brexit are clearly forming a barrier to trade. They are not only having dire implications for our members but also the supply chain and the wider import/ export industry. As an organisation we are actively lobbying government departments and local MPs and asking them to urgently address the issues adversely impacting not only LOFA members, but also a significant proportion of other major UK industries. “It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Brexit deal was not a deal for continued and unrestricted trading. It is a deal that to date has put up logistical barriers and appears to be severing our commercial partnerships with Europe.”

The latest update is that the Dutch authorities have gone direct to the European Commission to ask for easements on the requirement for preexport certificates for plants traded across member states’ borders. The HTA continue to liaise with their Dutch and Belgian trade counterparts to align and encourage a more manageable situation. Sally Cullimore, HTA Policy Manager explained that “We are working very hard to look for a solution to the pre-export certificate issue, and in the meantime, it does look like is curtailing and frustrating trade between our nations. We hope this can be resolved soon and we can start trading in earnest as the Spring season approaches. There are certainly many teething problems with the new regimes, but as time moves on and businesses learn more as trade increases, it is hoped the processes will become more familiar to everyone. The HTA is working closely with Defra on projects to ensure a smoother flow of plants across the border, such as upgrading IT systems, a Trusted Trader scheme and are pushing hard for mutual recognition of the EU member states’ plant health regime. This is to negate the large amount of inspections and paperwork the current regime demands while maintaining and enhancing the biosecurity of the UK.” Exporting to Northern Ireland As the horticulture industry faces continuing issues with the export of plants, trees, growing media, bulbs and seeds the HTA is pushing hard for Defra to seek equivalence on requirements for plants with soil attached for exports to the EU, particularly Northern Ireland. With Northern Ireland’s continued compliance with EU rules on

Pre-Export Certificates - further complications around importing plants No EU Member State can sign off for export plants grown in another Member State unless they have been issued with a Pre-Export Certificate, which costs Ð50. This has impacted trade between the Netherlands and the UK, with another sudden increase in cost. Some Dutch traders have decided to constrict their UK offering to just Dutch grown stock because of the complexities this requirement brings, while others are considering how to manage the costs and administrative burden. Coming on the back of the difficulties experienced signing off Prunus species for export earlier in the year, it is another blow for traders during an already difficult year.

8 February 2021

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plant health, many varieties of plants, seeds, plant products and soils can no longer be imported from Great Britain. The current EU regulations state that soil from non-EU states cannot be taken into Northern Ireland (or the EU). Plants require a phytosanitary certificate to enter but soil, which can carry pests and diseases, is among products that are completely banned. The Brexit withdrawal agreement sees Northern Ireland remain in the EU’s single market following its custom union’s rules, unlike the rest of the UK. As a result, this means that there are checks on some goods going between Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a ‘border’ in the Irish sea. This is resulting in exporters having to fill in customs declarations forms, adding expense and lengthy delays to trade. As a result, some suppliers have taken the decision not to supply into Northern Ireland. Robin Mercer owner of Hillmount, a fourth-generation family-owned gardening business with garden lifestyle stores in Ards, Bangor and Belfast picks up the story. He is calling on the government to assist the horticultural sector as gardeners in Northern Ireland face a spring of disarray due to the current situation surrounding the transportation of plants, garden furniture, gardening equipment and tools from GB and other parts of the world. He adds “For 80 years we have supported local suppliers and growers but the reality is that around 50% of our stock comes from outside Northern Ireland as we just don’t manufacture the goods or grow the plants here to meet customer demand. “We have been quoted £12,000 for a container from China which would have previously cost £1,200 and although we can source plants from Holland or the Republic of Ireland, the fact is that


THE NEW NORMAL

Call to reopen garden centres in Wales and Scotland gain momentum

the quality of product that customers of Hillmount expect come from plants grown in Great Britain. “I have written to elected representatives in Westminster and in Belfast as we need action fast to ensure that gardeners across Northern Ireland can enjoy the spring planting season. Thankfully at Hillmount we planned ahead at the end of last year and gave more business than usual to suppliers in England so that we would have our three garden lifestyle centres stocked for reopening after lockdown but I doubt that this would be the case for other businesses that will be trying to meet the demand of their local gardening enthusiasts this spring. If there is no solution to the current situation soon I’m not sure what the future holds for the horticulture sector in general in Northern Ireland and for our own fourth-generation family business which my family has worked tirelessly to make a success of over the past 80 years.” This view is echoed by John Shannon from Inver Garden Centre who comments, “Bringing plants in from Great Britain to Northern Ireland requires a lot of complicated paperwork along with phytosanitary certificates. Some nurseries have hinted that they will not be supplying us due to this situation. It is now going to prove easier for me to buy plants from Southern Ireland and Holland (both EU countries) than buy from Great Britain of which Northern Ireland is and should be part of – all because of the Northern Ireland Protocol.” Following border concerns raised from many sectors Michael Gove MP, Minister for the Cabinet Office wrote to the European Commission vice president Marcos Sefcovic in early February asking for no additional checks on goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland until 2023. HTA Chairman James Barnes, comments on the issue, “We are encouraged that the UK Government has recognised the need for the trade and movement of plants, seeds and plant products to be resolved as part of its Northern Ireland Protocol discussions

with the European Commission. “However, we need to see some urgent progress on this matter. Every day GB-based growers are deciding not to trade with businesses in Northern Ireland because of the additional cost and regulatory burdens, negatively impacting our sector both sides of the Irish sea. We need to see a reciprocal arrangement on the removal of prohibitions for our industry, not a long-winded official application process. “The Government must also ensure that they tackle with the EU the wider export restrictions to ensure British plant sellers can export easily and with minimal red tape to buyers across Europe. We need a common-sense approach to enable mutually beneficial trade”. Export of Seed Potatoes Following Brexit, the EU effectively banned the import of UK seed potatoes causing huge issues for UK growers. Considered to be higher risk category than ware potatoes (those used for human consumption) seed potatoes were not granted third country status. In early February the seed potato sector heard that the European Commission has decided not to progress the case for seed potato equivalence, under Article 44 of the Plant Health Regulation. This comes at a time when the sector was seeking a rapid resolution to the EU prohibition to enable growers to finalise their planting plans for the season ahead. Defra continues to raise the issue with the EU although this dialogue is likely to continue for some months. As a result, many remaining exports to the EU will not reach their destination in time for planting. This is likely to have a knockon effect to the European potato sector which effectively will cut off the supply of high-grade seed potatoes from the UK, exposing huge risk if European crops suffer from disease issues. A Positive Way Forward The January HTA Market Update* revealed that garden retail sales for the 2020 calendar year finished 10% down

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Campaigns from garden retailers in Wales and Scotland to get garden centres open again as soon as possible have attracted attention but they still need our help! Spearheaded by HTA Council Representatives Nicola Pugh of Pugh’s Garden Centres in South Wales and Helen MacDonald from Merryhatton Garden Centre in Scotland they are calling for garden centres to be reopened for trading, as is the case in England. Ornamental horticulture businesses in Wales have been unable to trade since lockdown restrictions on non-essential retail were put in place on 20th December and now, with the key Spring season and key trading dates of St David’s Day and Mother’s Day just weeks away, concern is beginning to turn to desperation as growers still have no idea what crops will be able to make it to the sales area. Nicola Pugh, HTA Council representative for Wales, and owner of Pugh’s Garden Centre, said: “We fully understand the need to protect public health and support the government in its determination to fight the spread of Covid, but horticultural businesses are being pushed to the brink at what should be our busiest time of year. “Plants and gardening offer incredible health and wellbeing benefits and if we are to meet the demand when reopening is possible, we need a timeline to help us manage the supply chain of perishable and seasonal crops and minimise the impact of continued uncertainty.” On Thursday (18/2) the Government meet to review the impact of lockdown and the HTA is calling for Ministers to properly consider the reopening of garden centres. Commenting on the situation in Scotland Helen MacDonald from Merryhatton Garden Centre comments, “The First Minister didn’t mention gardeners in her review on 16 February and as Spring is rapidly approaching, it is increasingly urgent that Scottish Government allow Scottish Garden Centres and nurseries to open. We can open safely and the benefits for health and wellbeing will be enormous. Please keep sharing this with friends, family, colleagues - indeed anyone you can think of! >To sign the petition to the Welsh Parliament follow this link: https:// petitions.senedd.wales/petitions/244681 >To sign the petition to the Scottish Parliament follow this link: https://www. change.org/ReopenScottishGardenCentres

February 2021 9


THE NEW NORMAL overall on 2019. This comes on the back of a year which saw the ornamental horticulture industry cope with extraordinary challenges amidst tough coronavirus restrictions across the UK. With continuing restrictions, that doesn’t look set to be lifted in full until later in the year it is likely that consumers will once again be looking for ways to improve their living and outdoor spaces, as the nation continues to spend more time closer to home. In 2020 garden and gardening categories performing strongly and despite garden centre closures and 8 weeks less trading time sales for these categories finished 3% up on 2019 and 21% up when comparing December 2020 with December 2019. The huge interest in gardening since the previous lockdown shows how engaged consumers are with plants and gardens – since May sales are up every month in 2020 against corresponding 2019 months and December shows a promising rise in consumer confidence. Looking to 2021, Laura Jeffery, HTA Market Research Executive, said: “There are many factors in our favour as we enter 2021. With holidays and many recreational activities unavailable or unappealing for months to come, consumers are again

facing leisure time spent at home. Our industry is in a positive position. “However, consumer confidence is fragile territory. The eventual reopening of society and the ‘old normal’ for socialising, entertainment and leisure mean we’ll need to work hard to retain the new gardeners we’ve attracted. We know that 2020 has driven some fundamental shifts in shopper behaviour and the consumer mindset, and we’ll continue to provide insights for our members throughout the year.” A bumpy path towards a promising future It remains to be seen how the impact of Brexit and the coronavirus situation will playout for the 2021 season. There are several key challenges ahead, not least the supply of products particularly from China and the Far East and the knockon impact, the trading situation with Northern Ireland and related issues with exporting plant product to the EU. With the vaccine rollout happening at pace there is hope that restrictions will be eased soon allowing all businesses to reopen. Hopefully, this will not be too late for some businesses – many of whom are feeling a sense of déjà vu as spring approaches. Many consumers are

likely to take a cautionary approach and choose to stay closer to home given that foreign holidays will still not be an option. A retreat to the garden is good news for the horticulture industry. With an agile and adaptable approach required the new normal perhaps provides an opportunity to look at suppliers closer to home. ‘British made’ and ‘UK grown’ are likely to gel with consumers, especially as through lockdown supporting local businesses has proved popular. There is a need to nurture those ‘lockdown gardeners’ that came on board last year and help them on their gardening journey – whether it be through grow your own, planted pots and containers or just using their garden more regularly as a place to rest, relax and enjoy. As ever the weather will need to be on our side!

Written by Gill Ormrod

*HTA Members can download Market Update from the HTA website, by logging in and visiting the Market Update page. Note: This article was written on 10 Feb and whilst the information within it was correct at the time please check for updates as it is an ever-evolving situation.

New fuente planters from elho

The new fuente range of sustainable flowerpots from elho has a broad appeal, bringing with it multiple opportunities for retailers. Available in a choice of three colours, three patters and three sizes, along with the option to be used both indoors and outdoors, the fuente range really does appeal to a wide range of customers. It is available in 30cm, 38cm and 47cm, and has three different patterns specifically designed to appeal to a variety of different styles of home and garden, including classic, modern and industrial.

Even the patterns are varied, with a lush foliage motif, modern rings and embossed ‘grain’ pattern. The planters feature plugs that mean they can be used indoors and out without rainfall causing drainage issues, so they can add style to gardens, terraces, balconies and homes alike. As per all elho products, the fuente collection is made from recycled plastic, tapping into the continuously growing need for ethical buying options.

For more information about stocking the new elho collection please contact david.nicholson@elho.nl. 10 February 2021

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NO.1

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Eff e

The choice for outdoor disinfection CORONAVIRUS SARS-CoV-2

Stock up for spring cleaning Available in most major wholesalers


LOFA COUNCIL RE-BOOT

2021 brings a new council line up to LOFA Pravin Patel has taken over as the Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association Ltd (LOFA) Chairman for 2021/22

Pravin Patel, who is a Director of Premier Decorations, will take the reins from outgoing LOFA Chairman, Mark Osborne, Sales Director of Outback Barbecues. Pravin said “I am looking forward to my chairmanship and I am very lucky that LOFA had been in the very capable hands of Mark Osborne over the last 3 years, he has led the organisation through some very turbulent times but has left it in such good shape that I am now able to focus on taking the organisation forward and I hope to increase the membership participation, and improve standards and working practices to benefit all of our members. There are a number of challenges that the industry is currently facing, obviously COVID continues to be a worry, plus the freight and shipping issues that many of our members are facing and the additional market increase in “short termism” “This year, as an organisation, we are putting the planet first and looking at

12 February 2021

sustainability and how we can all reduce our carbon footprints and lower our impact on the environment”. “Our industry has been very fortunate during lockdown that we have still been able to supply our products to garden centres in stores and online, and we have also found a whole new and younger audience who are becoming more interested in their outdoor spaces”. The new appointment of Chairman has also made way for a new Vice Chairman Mike Brand, Finance and Operations Director of Alexander Rose. Mike has been on the board since 2017 and was elected as Vice Chairman at the first council meeting of 2021. The new dynamic duo will also be joined by two new members of council in the shape of Alwyn Williams, Head of Business Support at Zest4Leisure and Luke Hopkins, newly appointed National Sales Manager of Char-Broil. Both are really keen to get their feet under the LOFA table

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Alwyn said “Zest4Leisure have always recognised the importance of being members of LOFA due to the representation of high-quality brands within the UK gardening industry and worldwide. We wanted to be a part of an association that promotes excellence in all aspects of service delivery and


LOFA COUNCIL RE-BOOT

PPravin ravin Patel

Director - Premier Decorations Limited Favourite Food I like social eating, Chinese is my favourite cuisine. Favourite Film Silence of the Lambs/ The Jungle Book. Hobbies Avid West Bromwich Albion Fan, Eating with friends. Pet No pet but would like to get a dog when I can give it some quality time. Any claims to fame? As a very young child stepped directly in front of Idi Amin’s Jeep in a procession - The secret police gave my mother a good ticking off! Most embarrassing moment? Fortunately, I must have been too intoxicated to recall the event. How long a member of LOFA Council? I am now into my 8th year on council. What made you want to stand for LOFA Council? While having a drink with other LOFA board members at Spoga I made a statement that “LOFA was a white middle aged male establishment” – I was challenged to join, and I agreed to stand for election if nominated.

to showcase what we can offer. Being a council member provides me the opportunity to consider and influence how we can serve, support and promote members interests within the industry’ Luke agrees “Within this industry I have had the pleasure of working at all levels, from shop floor Sales Assistant to National Sales Manager UK & Ireland, this has helped me to gain insights into the needs and wants of both staff at all levels and most importantly the consumers. Having such a wide range of perspective means that I can bring a better understanding and knowledge of the industry to create an environment conducive for success” The Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association was set up in 1967 to promote the trade of the outdoor leisure industry and to advance the interests of its members. LOFA offers a range of services and support. Its primary aim as a trade association is to work with its members to develop good working practices, a respect for the environment and to provide

consumers with up-to-date information on lifestyle products for the garden. LOFA’s goal is to make every member feel supported, informed and inspired. LOFA is run voluntarily by a council of ten voted for by its members. These ten individuals represent the diverse body of companies across garden furniture, garden lighting, barbecues, fire pits, chimeneas, parasols, soft furnishings, spa’s and associated outdoor leisure products. They uphold the Code of Practice and follow the Articles of Association to make sure they are working for and on behalf of the 70 strong membership. Sometimes they have some very difficult decisions to make, but as with any democracy all are put to the vote, and decisions are

Tim Pennell

National Sales Manager – Bramblecrest

Favourite Book Sapiens. Favourite Film Gladiator. Hobbies Running, Skiing, Mountain Biking, Squash, 4x4’s. Do you have a pet? A Labrador, Nelly. Any claims to fame? A chat with Michael Schumacher who advised me to get karting! Most embarrassing moment? Sinking an unsinkable boat on a sailing course. If you were washed up on a desert island, what one luxury would you want with you? A fully loaded solar powered Kindle with music. How long have you been a member of the LOFA Council? 4 years. What made you want to stand for LOFA council? I felt the LOFA council presented a great networking opportunity whereby like-minded industry professionals have the chance to socialise and support one

Stephen Davies

Director – Southsea Deckchairs Favourite Food Indian. Favourite Book Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Hobbies Cooking, guitar, eating, wine. Do you have a pet? A cat called Bella. If you were washed up on a desert island, what one luxury would you want

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another and th whilst hil t sharing h i ideas id d business b i insights that Bramblecrest may otherwise not be exposed to. What do you hope to achieve for LOFA going forward as a LOFA Council member? As part of the original Bramblecrest team it’s been a pleasure to develop my wider industry and sales and marketing experience alongside the growth of the business. Using these skill sets I hope to assist in pushing LOFA’s excellent reputation forward so that in the interests of the organisation the message of ‘why to buy’ from a LOFA member will become more prominent.

with you? A wife. How long have you been a member of the LOFA Council? 10 years. What made you want to stand for LOFA council? I like the people and values of the organisation. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing our industry today? Online shopping.

February 2021 13


LOFA COUNCIL RE-BOOT

LOFA at the forefront of improving garden centre retailing standards. Scotsdales win The Greatest Outdoor Furniture Sales Team Award in 2019

Alwyn Williams

14 February 2021

> To find out more about LOFA and its council log on to https://lofa.co.uk/about_ us.html u

Steve Millington

Head of Business Support – Zest4Leisure

Favourite Food Fish, chips and mushy peas. Favourite Book Don’t have a favourite book, reading the sports news online is about as far as it goes………. Favourite Film Shawshank Redemption. Do you have a pet? Denzel and Douglas the Border Terrorists, I mean Border Terriers! Any claims to fame? 2003, Cape Town, South Africa v England cricket test match. Spotted in the crowd running in front of the Barmy Army wearing a Welsh rugby top, a Welsh flag and carrying a blow-up sheep. David Lloyd and Ian Botham were commentating at the time and David L said, “I bet his mother is really proud”. What do you think you can bring to the LOFA table? I have a keen interest in the development of business support systems to maximise efficiency and minimise waste; streamlining processes to incorporate quality assurance measures to provide excellent customer service as far as possible. I’m hopeful that I will be able to utilise some of these skills to benefit the association and its members. I’m also keen to promote what LOFA brings to its

made on a wide variety of issues from Product Safety and Standards, Marketing, Solex, new initiatives and Membership applications. They have been challenged many times over the way that the organisation is run which is only natural, it is good to be challenged and to look at what has been done in the past and what changes can be made to make the organisation stronger and more relevant in the future. GTN asked the new members of LOFA’s council and a few of the existing ones to get up close and personal and give a little insight into who they are and why they decided to become a LOFA Council Member.

Sales Director – Tom Chambers

Luke H Hopkins opkkins

National Sales Manager – Char-Broil Favourite Food Chinese, beef & black bean. Favourite Film Above The Rim. Do you have a pet? Yes, Jack Russell called Rory . Favourite Book? I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence. If you were washed up on a desert island, what one luxury would you want with you? Tamagotchi (See who lives longer). What made you want to stand for LOFA council? At the beginning of my career as a garden centre sales assistant John Cockman and I would visit Solex to view the new products for the coming season. Years later I have had many opportunities including standing with Martin Carnaby talking to the garden centres I had previously worked alongside. This enabled me to see how close the garden centres are to their suppliers and how LOFA were a crucial part of bringing this community together. For me this played an important part in my decision to be a part of LOFA and continue the fantastic work I have seen taking place.

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Favourite Book The Road. Favourite Film Top Gun. Hobbies – Formula One, Live Music & Theatre Any claims to fame? – Stood in for a well-known band on Drums one evening when their drummer fell ill! How long have you been a member of the LOFA Council? – This is my second year. What made you want to stand for LOFA council? – To play a part in one of the industry’s leading associations. What do you hope to achieve for LOFA going forward as a LOFA Council member? – To help council achieve the goals set which will in turn help the members. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing our industry today? – Working within the new restrictions related to Covid and the way consumers are choosing to shop.


GTN PROMOTION

Relaxed living in contemporary styling from Firmans Firmans Direct is one of the longest established names within the UK outdoor furniture market. Known for giving a consistent emphasis on quality, Firmans have been able to establish strong relationships with the most accomplished factories. Maintaining a close partnership with on-the-ground teams at each manufacturing destination allowing them to uphold high standards of production. Recently the new design team at Firmans have made a bold push in redesigning the

concept of relaxed living under the Casamoré brand. Investment in a new, contemporary outlook has been rewarded with considerable growth in Firmans recent trading history. Year on year buyers have responded enthusiastically to new collections. With garden furniture sales hitting stratospheric levels throughout the UK in recent lockdowns, focus on garden improvements has rejuvenated enthusiasm for the outdoor space. This has led to increased demand from a younger

generation for a modern approach to maintenance-free garden furniture. Responding to this developing market, the Saint Lucia collection features contemporary styling. Curved sloping arms complement the sleek lines of the smooth, powder coated aluminium frames, combined with ceramic glass tabletops, in a mottled slate finish. The generous profile is echoed through the wide armrests, deep sumptuous cushions, and extra-wide seating. This concept and design offer a timeless appeal. Despite the lack of a formal platform in 2020 for a grand unveiling, the Saint Lucia collection has been very well received by trade buyers in private receptions. This collection will undoubtedly make an impression on the buying public this coming season. Alongside this new and exciting line up, the traditional polyrattan ranges offered by Firmans have been reinvigorated with more stylish design tones and enhanced to incorporate the latest technology. Firmans supply major retails groups, garden centres and independent retailers. Find out more about becoming a stockist of the ever-expanding Casamoré brand by Firmans. > Website: firmansdirect.com Email: enquiries@firmansdirect.com

www.gardentradenews.co.uk

February 2021 15


GTN PROMOTION

Primeur 2021 – the one to watch

Sustainability, new merchandising support & range updates With new products, new colourways, new merchandising displays and a warehouse full to the rafters, Primeur is set to have another big year in 2021 and cement its position as one of the fastest-growing suppliers to the garden retail market. The past 12 months have not been without their challenges, but the Primeur team has been able to forge ahead and strengthen its offering, including the benchmark-setting ‘Eco Garden’ collection of award-winning

16 February 2021

Tierra Verde planters, stepping stones, decking tiles and garden borders; all made from recycled tyre crumb. The new name in sustainability, Eco Garden has proven itself as a key seller, with orders exceeding 139% year-on-year; with further growth planned for 2021, as the nation continues to engage with gardening on a scale not seen for several decades. The Primeur team attributes the success of the Eco Garden range to a number

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of simple factors, which are influencing consumer spend significantly. Jenny Douthwaite, Sales Director at Primeur explains: “The events of 2020 have heightened consumer demand for products that are backed by a strong environmental ethos, as the need to protect our own little part of the world becomes of paramount importance. Simple changes can make a huge difference to our impact upon the world and, with Eco Garden, these decisions


GTN PROMOTION

are easy to make. Whether it’s our Tierra Verde planters, decking tiles or steppingstone, Eco Garden combines practical, easy-to-use, stylish products, with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are helping to channel harmful rubber tyres from landfill; tyres which would otherwise take upwards of 80 years to decompose.” Forward planning to pay dividends for stock management Retailers will be pleased to learn that Primeur has planned appropriately to ensure that stock is ready and waiting to go from its UK-based warehouse. It is this foresight that enabled the company to manage all stock orders through the height of the pandemic in 2020, and also ensured the company was – and continues to be - ready to respond to the challenges that Brexit presents. Updated merchandising displays Driving sales in the coming season will be even easier, thanks to Primeur’s updated

market-leading merchandising displays. Already proving their worth in 2020, where orders for the merchandising display increased four-fold, the new-for-2021 displays will benefit from fresh new POS. Highlighting the products’ USPs including allweather durability, ease of installation, and key sustainability messaging, the new display boards will make it easier than ever for consumers to understand the many features and benefits of the products, as the point of sale helps to convert interest into purchases. Each display unit comes fully stocked with product and, thanks to the freestanding design, can be positioned to create a standalone display or can be used in conjunction with other gardening sundries, lawn care, plants or pots to create appealing linked sales opportunities for gardeners who visit the store. New for 2021 range expansions From interior furnishings, to exterior home improvements, the colour grey is continuing to rise in popularity, dominating surfaces from wall coverings to kitchen units, tiling, cladding, doors and windows – while the trend for cool, contemporary shades of grey is witnessing unprecedented popularity in the nation’s gardens, too. Aiming to capitalise on this trend, Primeur has added a number of grey colourways to its best-selling product lines ahead of the 2021 season, including the Railroad Tie (25x60cm) in grey, as well as the popular Ultra Curve EZ Border. Previously only available in Earth, the 122cm-long Brick borders will be available in grey in heights of 9cm or 15cm, helping gardeners to add a cutting-edge look to flower borders and vegetable beds. Grey will also feature in the new Carolina Border collection, as well as an Earth colour

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option, highlighting the classic new design perfectly. Dimensions of this new border will be 2x15x120cm and will be supported by a retail price of just £16.99. Three new planters also join the Eco Garden line up. First up will be the new 15cm Octavia Planter (RRP £24.99), offering a smaller size option within this popular planter collection. The best-selling Sonata range will see the introduction of two new trough planters in response to both retailer and consumer demand. At 71cm wide and standing at 50cm high, the larger trough will be a commanding planter in any garden setting, whilst the smaller trough (61cm wide x 15cm high) will provide the ideal solution for window boxes and herb gardens alike. Jenny Douthwaite says: “There is no question that gardens are viewed as an extension of the home, so it makes sense that interior trends are being reflected in consumer demand for products used in the garden. The popularity of grey, in particular, shows no sign of abating, whilst container gardening continues to see more and more people engage with this fussfree style of horticulture. Our latest range expansions have been curated to maximise the opportunities of such trends, providing retailers with products that we believe will hit the spot for consumers in the coming year.”

Find out more To find more about Primeur’s full product range as well as how to join one of its new virtual showroom tours, please contact the team on 01274 518800 or email sales@primeur.ltd.uk

February 2021 17


FUNDRAISING FOR GREENFINGERS

Get set go – supporters confirm plans for Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021

What are you planning for the garden retail industry’s favourite FUNdraising event of the year on March 19th? As 2021 picks up pace, it’s now only a matter of weeks before we reach the garden retail industry’s favourite FUNdraising event of the year – Garde en Re-Leaf Day on Friday March 19th. Wh hilst this year’s event will be different due to the ongoing pandemic, that does not mean that the charity’s supporters arren’t pulling out all the stops! Here we find out more about some of the amazing events which will be taking place throughoutt March 2021 to help Garden Re-Leaf celebrate its 10th anniversary!

Get involved in Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021 Since its inception in 2012, Garden Re-Leaf Day has been a key event within the garden retail calendar. Each year hundreds of people from across the industry, including suppliers and retailers, come together to undertake an incredible series of fundraising events. During the last nine years the event has raised in excess of £660,000, all of which has gone towards helping the charity design and create magical gardens in children’s hospices throughout the country.

10 miles for 10 years o run Kate Ebbens of Capi UK has pledged to 10 miles on March 19th,, with the company p y throwing their weight behind the challenge with £500. Kate will be clocking up the miles close to home and aims to complete the distance in 1-hour 40mins. As if that wasn’t enough, Kate has also given up her biggest vice – coffee – for the whole of 2021. To help avoid temptation Kate is donating £1 to Greenfingers for each day she goes coffee-free! You can make a donation to support Kate’s efforts here http://www.justgiving.com/Kate-Ebbens2

18 February 2021

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> Registration for the 2021 event is now live, and Greenfingers is also on the look out for sponsors of the event. To find out more please contact Linda Petrons by emailing linda@ greefingerscharity.org.uk

From Land’s End to John O’Groats A group of intrepid walkers from Hornby Whitefoot PR, Deco-Pak and Garden Trade


FUNDRAISING FOR GREENFINGERS

News have vowed d to wallk the disttance between Land’s End and John O’Groats throughout March 2021. Measuring 603 miles as the crow flies, these walkers will be cheering each other on from the safety of their own homes and using video chat to keep the morale high. A special video capturing the efforts of the team will also be made available after the event. Additional walkers are welcome to join in the fun. Please email kimberley@ hornbywhitefootpr.co.uk if you’d like to get involved.

Sponsored Walk back in 2015. Matthew has completed every Garden Re-Leaf Walk since, racking up 120 miles for the charity to date, one of only two people who have done so!

The Thames Walk The team from leading trade exhibition, Glee, are – Covid allowing – hoping to tackle a 51 mile stretch of the infamous Thames Path, all within a day’s walking. Leading the pack will be Glee’s Event Director, Matthew Mein, who was the originator of the Garden Re-Leaf

FUNdraising ideas for Garden Re-Leaf Day 2021 You will find a host of ideas in the Garden Re-Leaf Fundraising pack but here’s a few ways you can get involved and help Greenfingers to continue creating magical gardens in children’s hospices across the nation: 1) Plantathons are perfect for generating some buzz instore whilst simultaneously generating more stock and donating to Greenfingers. Previous events have included 12- and 24-hour Plantathons. 2) Hold a virtual quiz, with a minimum donation for all entrants. 3) Raffles and tombolas are a great way of getting lots of people involved. Gather prizes from around your store, or ask friends and colleagues to donate prizes, before selling raffle tickets ahead of the grand unveiling of the lucky winner! 4) Cake sales and coffee mornings – are simple yet effective FUNdraisers. 5) An online auction is a great way to raise funds and involve your friends and colleagues 6) Team up with friends and colleagues to complete a virtual walk or cycle challenge. Set yourselves a target – 100 miles for example – and work together to achieve it. Walk around your local area, on a treadmill, whatever it takes! Keep in touch via Zoom to keep the group enthusiasm going! > For more FUNdraising ideas or to obtain a copy of the 2021 fundraising pack drop Linda a line: linda@greefingerscharity.org.uk she’d love to hear from you.

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February 2021 19


GTN PROMOTION

Why Meadow View?

Following a very successful year that saw Meadow View Stone double their turnover, we asked the team at Meadow View Stone, along with some of their customers, what was fuelling this growth. Sarah Hill, MD of Meadow View Stone puts their growth down to the following factors: 1. Growth within existing accounts 2. New account acquisition 3. Unique and Exclusive Products 4. Quality of Products 5. POS and Merchandising 6. Stock Is King 7. Experts in our field 8. Results “We have the exclusive products that sell in volume, supported by industry leading POS. We have the stock volumes to support our growth and the expertise to make it work. Sarah continued: “Our very committed team of staff and sales agents are passionate to see the continued success of Meadow View, and this, along with all the above factors, sees us perfectly placed to continue our mission in transforming the face of the UK’s Garden Centres, both physically and financially.” Growth within existing accounts “We are delighted to have partnered with Meadow View Stone for the last 30 years. We get professional and personal service every year but Meadow View excelled during 2020. We suffered very little out of stocks and as a result our stone and slabs department increased turnover by 60%.” Gerald Ingram, Planters at Tamworth We have very strong relations with our existing customers, many of which have been stockists of our products for decades, so its vitally important for us to continue to grow their sales annually. Continued product development focussed on introducing more on trend products, both refreshes the range and makes it appeal to a broader customer demographic. This helps our accounts achieve continual growth. With many accounts enjoying increases of between 20-150% in our category this year, it gives us a great sense of achievement that we are able to continue to develop and grow sales within our established customer base.

20 February 2021

New account acquisition 2020 saw a peak in demand for hard landscaping products and due to our vast stock holding, across three production sites and four dockside storage facilities, this gave us the ability to step in and help customers that were struggling to get stock from their usual suppliers. The opportunity to trial some of our exclusive products at these accounts has proved invaluable, with many committing to a secondary supplier status for Meadow View during 2021, or completely switching supply. Our account acquisition more than tripled in 2020, and a promising start to 2021 gives us every confidence that this will continue. Mark O’Nions, Frosts Garden Centre said: “Meadow View were able to support us by filling some stock gaps we encountered last year and we also used this as an opportunity to trial some of their exclusive products, which I am pleased to report sold well”

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Unique and Exclusive Products 25% of our product range is unique and exclusive to Meadow View which means we have a complete standalone range that can be promoted as a nonconflicting, upsell, product collection. This fresh new range has appealed to customers, who have seen little advancement in product development in our sector, just a mass of variations of similar products, all competing for the same sale, with little, or very minor, points of difference. Our exclusive products contribute a staggering 26% of the total volume sold and account for a third of our total turnover, so it’s easy to understand why they have been a key factor in our continual growth. “Since switching to Meadow View in February we have seen an increase in our sales by over 50%, and taking account that we were closed for 6 weeks in prime


GTN PROMOTION

season, this is incredible. The exclusive, on-trend products have transformed our range and accounted for 37% of our turnover, so this has more than convinced us all at Poplars, that we made the correct decision to switch.” Matthew Cowan, Poplars Nurseries. Quality of Products As our premium collection is supplied washed, this further emphasises the quality and appeal of the products. As these products are promoted at higher RRP’s its imperative they appear worthy of their price tag. Being the only supplier with this facility ensures the products are supplied cleaner and more accurately sized than all other competitors in our sector. The vast improvement in the appearance of these more premium products has seen a big take up in sales, with three of these products now within our top ten best sellers, despite their higher RRP of £7.99.

Unwashed

POS and Merchandising We have received great feedback on the success of our POS and merchandising displays, not only in the way it transforms the visual appearance of the centres but also how it aids sales. Simple set designs of each product are featured with contrasting products, to help customers locate complementing products and promote cross sales, whilst end of aisle hotspots are used to define each product category and to provide ideas and inspiration for customers in how to use our products. Stock Is King With over £6million stock holding, our Group operations have the ability to facilitate in excess of 50 bulk shipments annually from our overseas partners. This, together with 4 dockside storage facilities and three production sites, provides full flexibility to pull stock from multiple locations, whilst being fully in control of our entire supply chain.

Experts in our field Totting up over 150 years in the decorative aggregate sector and having a combined 118 years’ experience within our internal and external sales teams, we have a thorough understanding of the industry, our products and their sales performance. As runners up in the GIMA supplier of the year awards 2019 we also offer superb customer service and have gone above and beyond to keep these high standards of communication, even in the most difficult of times. Mark Shaw, Planters at Bretby said: “The service we received from Meadow View during the last 12 months was absolutely outstanding which resulted in a sales increase of 59% at Bretby. The communication with the Meadow View team during the last unprecedented year was second to none and I cannot speak highly enough of the team, they were always available on the phone, email and even communicated at times with their own personal phones when the phones lines were constantly busy”. Results The majority of accounts that have switched to Meadow View have seen sales increases of a minimum of 30%, mainly due to the exclusive products and their ability to sell in volume at a high RRP. Some have seen three-digit increases, of over 129%, whilst some of the destination centres have created a separate listing for our products to sit alongside their existing supplier – yet still have seen increases of between 30-40% in sales. Find out more To find more about Meadow View Stone’s full product range please contact the team on 01948 841607 or email sales@ meadowviewstone.co.uk. www.meadowviewstone.co.uk

Washed

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February 2021 21


CULTIVATION STREET 2021

9th year of growing community gardening The largest national community garden campaign, Cultivation Street, launches on 1st March 2021, with great opportunities for Garden Centre Ambassadors to keep gardening alive within their communities and win prizes too! The Cultivation Street campaign focuses on community gardens and what makes them so fantastic. Community gardens come in a myriad of shapes, sizes, and styles. All with a different heart and a unique mission. But what each of them has in common, is the ability to bring people together using the power of nature to inspire, heal, and make people happy. Cultivation Street rewards these communities and schools for their efforts to help improve the lives of those in their communities and spread positivity. Cultivation Street and its sponsor Miracle Gro are asking schools and community gardens across the nation to share their stories and inspire others, with cash prizes up for grabs as rewards for the best gardens. Last year, Miracle Gro donated bags of their All-Purpose Compost to community and school gardens asking them to GRO YOUR BEST. This brand-new category received some incredible entries, with an abandoned train transformed into a living locomotive filled with plants, and old crates converted into a hungry-

22 February 2021

herb-growing caterpillar. The entries were imaginative and inspiring. Despite the events of last year, schools and communities showed the drive and determination to keep their gardens going. Throughout lockdown, communities shared updates and plans via Zoom and social media, and when restrictions were lifted, several gardens were able to get back to their gardens with big plans to help in any way they could. Many gardens found many of their community members were in need of fresh food and vegetables and used their resources to produce thousands of food packages for vulnerable and less fortunate members of their community. Others delivered bouquets of cut flowers to lift the spirits of those who were isolating alone. Last year saw a record number of gardens entering the competition for the first time, many of which were started during the first lockdown. Stories included those who were furloughed and were uncertain about how to use their time and turned to their local community garden for

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respite, solace and a place to give them purpose. Some took on huge projects and managed to turn derelict areas of overgrown weeds and debris into green havens full of flowers, fruit and veg in a matter of months. Over £160,000 worth of prizes have been given away to deserving community and school gardens, as well as to Garden Centre Ambassadors. The Ambassadors spend their days helping to promote gardening whilst aiding communities and children with their gardening journeys. The top winners in the competition were


CULTIVATION STREET 2021 also awarded Miracle Gro hampers. Last year with garden centres closed in the first lockdown, we were in awe of how our ambassadors still managed to keep gardening alive within their communities. Some working with charities, or dedicating their time doing doorstep drops for their customers. Many were unable to do their usual workshops or outreach programmes, but they adapted so they were still contributing and helping within their communities, as they know how helpful gardening can be for your mental health and wellbeing. David Domoney, the creator of Cultivation Street told GTN: “The only requirement to enter Cultivation Street is that you are a community nity or school garden. There are no restrictions for age, what you grow or how much you grow. “One of the things we love most about Cultivation Street is the inclusivity of the competition and seeing that shine through into our communities. The gardens all vary in size and but their values and purpose all align, they are places where people can socialise, learn, and grow with like-minded people. “So, we want to see your community garden and hear all about how it is helping your community. “Although 2021 has started with uncertainty, we know that the communities involved in Cultivation Street will make the most out of the restrictions and come together – even if this is over social media – and achieve wonderful things in their gardens.”

Gro hamper; Two highly commended prizes of Miracle Gro Hamper.

What can you win? School Gardens This category rewards school gardens that enrich the educational environment for children. Linwood Highschool won 1st Place with their memorial garden. 1st prize - £1,000 and a Miracle Gro hamper; 2nd prize - £500 and a Miracle Gro hamper; 3rd prize - £250 and a Miracle

Community Gardens This category rewards gardening projects bursting with community spirit, with a 1st prize p - £1,000 and a Miracle Gro hamper; 2nd prize - £500 and a Miracle Gro hamper; 3rd prize - £250 and a Miracle Gro hamper; Two highly commended prizes of Miracle Gro hamper. Gardens for Better Health This category rewards gardens that have a positive impact on the mental or physical health of the local community. 1st prize - £1,000 and a Miracle Gro hamper; 2nd prize - £500 and a Miracle Gro hamper; 3rd prize - £250 and a Miracle Gro hamper; Two highly commended prizes of Miracle Gro hamper. Gro’ your Best This category rewards the most creative display created using Miracle-Gro’s free bag of compost. Winner of Judge’s Choice – Selection of Miracle-Gro Products; Public Vote - £200. Ambassador of the Year This category rewards Garden Centre Ambassadors who have gone above and beyond for their local community and school groups with cash prizes. 1st prize £1000; 2nd prize - £500; 3rd prize - £250. And 8 x runners up - £100 each > For more information visit cultivationstreet.com

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February 2021 23


GTN BESTSELLERS

How will the Lockdown Gap be filled in 2021?

The GTN Bestsellers analysts have been digging deeper into the weekly garden centre EPOS data to shed more light on the pandemic’s effect on gardening sales.

There have been many stats published now about how good or bad last year was. GTN Bestsellers volume sales index, a measure of true activity, said the year ended 9% down for total volume which was a much better result than the Mintel predicted drop of 22% forecasted in June 2020. That 22% drop was probably based on the damage inflicted by the seven weeks of garden centre closures from the end of March through to mid-May. When centres re-opened the GTN Bestsellers All Sales index was over 50% down year

on year but excellent trading during the rest of the summer and through into the autumn meant the equivalent of all but three of those lost weeks were made up. We’ve been digging deeper into the GTN Bestsellers aggregated EPOS data to get a better handle on the years performance and if we split the year into 4 segments: Pre-Lockdown #1, Lockdown when centres were closed, Re-opening until the end of August and then September to December we can see that the biggest gains were made from re-opening to the end of August:

• • • • •

All Sales – up 20% Top 50 Garden Products – 25% Top 50 Growing Media – up 70% Top 50 Veg 2 Gro – up 69% Top 50 Wild Bird Care – up 2%

Plant sales however saw their biggest gain from September onwards – up 29% vs up 17% from re-opening to the end of Autumn. Three of those stats really stand out and point to the potential for further growth this year. The 70% growth in Growing

Portable Fire pit The Solo Stove is a portable smokeless fire pit, perfect for time in the garden and for camping trips. The stove provides a super-efficient burn that is hypnotic to watch. This ingenious design empowers you to maximise the joy of the great outdoors.

0333 999 7974 // www.specflue.com // 24 February 2021

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GTN BESTSELLERS

All Sales and All Plant Sales 2019, 2020 & 2021

1

3

5

7

9

11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51

All Sales 2019

All Sales 2020

All sales 2021

Plant Sales 2019

Plant Sales 2020

Plant Sales 2021

Continued on page 28

The god of grills The maintenance-free, highly distinctive Vulcanas grill is weather resistant and provides an attractive space to prepare food for up to 50 people in just one hour. Look no further for innovative technology and cutting-edge design!

0333 999 7974 // www.specflue.com // www.gardentradenews.co.uk

February 2021 25


GTN BESTSELLERS

GTN Bestsellers Garden Products This year

Last year

SUPPLIER – Product description – BARCODE

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

1 18 3 7 10 19 13 8 98 69 53 16 27 5 2

EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Levington Tomorite 1L + 30% Free - 5010272182620 WOODLODGE Pot Feet Large - 5021346111026 CREATIVE PRODUCTS Bottle Light - 5060247072319 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle-Gro Rose & Shrub Continuous Release Plant Food 1kg - 5010272076516 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Roseclear Ultra, Ready To Use 1L - 5010272088212 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle Gro All Purpose Plant Feed - 5010272185447 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soluble Plant Food 1.2kg - 5010272182651 SBM Baby Bio Original 175ml - 50371280 GARDMAN Ice Orb Light Mini, pack of 2 - 5024160886712 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Focus Drip Feeders 38ml - 5025644916376 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle Gro Pour ‘n Feed 1L - 5010272185393 WESTLAND Lawn & Turf Dressing 25L - 5023377844881 SBM Toprose 1kg - 5000371050524 WOODLODGE Small Pot Feet - 5021346110852 FITO Drip Feeder For Orchids 32ml - 8006320027705 WOODLODGE Spang Pot 3 inch - 5021346405910 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Evergreen Complete 360 sq m + 10% Extra Free - 5010272183320 WOODLODGE Spang Pot 4 inch - 5021346364910 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Roundup Total Ready To Use 1.2L - 5017676018012 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Bugclear Ultra Gun 1L - 5010272090093 ALGON Organic Algae Remover Patio Cleaner - 5060028700011 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Myst 100ml - 5025644918639 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Evergreen Levington Tomorite 1L - 5010272064483 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Myst 300ml - 5025644911814 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle-Gro Evergreen Complete 80 sq m + 25% - 5010272200072 WOODLODGE Spang Pot 5.5 inch - 5021346405927 WOODLODGE 5 inch Standard Spang Pot - 5021346364927 NEUDORFF Sluggo Slug & Snail Killer 800g - 4005240136133 SBM Provanto Ultimate Bug Killer, Ready to Use, 1L - 3664715006565 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Pot Clear 12cm - 5025644911616 GROWTH TECHNOLOGy Orchid Pot Clear 15cm - 5025644911623 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Plant Food 1L - 5010272188950 APTA Verona Half Pot 26cm - 5022413558263 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Weedol Gun Pathclear 1L - 5010272013153 GREENKEY Mini Mister Mixed Colours - 5060059281053 SMART SOLAR Bee Bug Light - 5050642049634 APTA Pot Topper 1kg Bag - 5022413560761 DEROMA Cotto Garden Sun Azalea Pot 21cm - 726232022008 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Pot Clear 13cm - 5025644913658 WOODLODGE Long Tom Pot 28cm - 5021346404029 CREATIVE PRODUCTS Dead Head Snips - 5060247072760 STEWART Flower Pot Saucer 8 inch Terracotta - 5022938844148 SMART SOLAR Flaming Torch with Cool Flame - 5050642025164 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle-Gro Slow Release Azalea, Camellia & Rhodo Food 1kg - 5010272076554 PLANTWORKS Empathy Rootgrow 150g - 5060160320023 SCHEURICH Cover Pot 7cm - 4002477587158 WESTLAND Fish Blood & Bone 1.5kg - 5023377845888 WOODLODGE Terracotta Pot 14cm - 5021346400571 WESTLAND Fish Blood & Bone 4kg - 5023377007873 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Focus Drip Feeders, pack of 6 - 5025644918585

New

29 44 26 25 20 51 14 21 17 New

94 12 9 65 38 New

41 37 42 New

43 New

80 New New

23 50 35 55 New

59 New

89 New

Volume Sales Change +50% Increase +100% Increase

Increase Increase Increase Highest Climber +100% Increase +50% Increase Increase Increase

Highest New Entry Increase Increase Increase Increase Increase

New to Top 100 +50% Increase

Increase Increase New to Top 100 Increase

New to Top 100 Increase New to Top 100 Increase New to Top 100 New to Top 100 Increase Increase New to Top 100 Increase New to Top 100 Increase New to Top 100

Subscribe to the weekly GTN Bestsellers printed newsletter and get the most up to date garden centre market sales information to stay ahead of new trends as they happen.

26 February 2021

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TOP 100 GTN BESTSELLERS

Full Year (weeks 1 - 51) 2020

This year

Last year

SUPPLIER – Product description – BARCODE

51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100

New

DOFF Affordable Excellence Tomato Feed 400ml + 20% Free - 5013655009101 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Weedol Rootkill Plus Gun 1L - 5010272086379 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Cactus & Succulent Focus 100ml - 5025644913788 HOZELOCK Hose Gun Starter Set - 5010646051101 SMART SOLAR Bug Lights - 5050642027373 SMART GARDEN Trigger Sprayer 600ml - 5016227010550 JOHNSON Quick Lawn + Germinator 500g - 5055040400551 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Houseplant Focus Drip Feeders 38ml - 5025644918592 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Pot Saucers 13.5cm - 5025644912767 SMART SOLAR Flutterby Butterfly - 5050642040525 VITAX 6X Natural Fertiliser 8kg - 5018764000209 GARDMAN Bamboo Canes 90cm, pack of 20 - 5024160080301 STEWART Flower Pot Saucer 10 inch, Terracotta - 5022938846142 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle-Gro Slow Release All Purpose Plant Food 1L - 5010272076578 WESTLAND Organic Chicken Manure Pellets 10kg - 5023377844614 STEWART Clear Saucer 11-18.5cm - 5022938647084 VITAX Nippon Ant Powder 300g plus 33% Free - 5012042143039 SCHEURICH Pot Cover Mini 10cm - 4002477591193 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Houseplant Myst Ready To Use 100ml - 5025644918646 WESTLAND Growmore 4kg - 5023377007866 VITAX Hormone Rooting Powder 50g - 50928446 SMART SOLAR Cool Flame Compact Torch - 5050642035668 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Pot Clear 17cm - 5025644911630 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Weedol Lawn Weedkiller Ready To Use 800ml - 5010272181814 KENT & STOWE Stainless Steel Hand Trowel - 5060396796937 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Bug Clear Ultra Vine Weevil Killer 480ml - 5010272090147 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Houseplant Focus 100ml - 5025644910923 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Miracle-Gro All Purpose Concentrated Plant Food 1L - 5000308601362 STEWART Clear Drip Saucer, 5-6 inch - 5022938842083 TOWN & COUNTRY Ladies Flexigrip Triple Pack - 5020358001868 STEWART Flower Pot Terracotta 10 inch - 5022938836143 APTA Standard Pot Feet - 5022413003381 STEWARt Flower Pot 4 inch Terracotta Multi-Pack - 5022939831147 SMART SOLAR Bug Light Ladybird - 5050642049641 APTA Pot Standard 11cm - 5022413029244 KENT & STOWE Traditional Bypass Secateurs - 5060396791802 WESTLAND Resolva 24H Weedkiller, Ready to Use 1L - 5023377008542 ELHO Corsica Single Easy Hanger - 8711904251697 STEWART Smithy Patio Tub Large, Gun Metal - 5022938559363 WOODLODGE Terracotta Pot Man 6 - 5021346428933 STEWART Flower Pot 3inch Terracotta Multi-Pack - 5022939830140 STEWART Flower Pot 7 inch, Terracotta - 5022938834149 EVERGREEN GARDEN CARE Roundup Fast Action Ready To Use 1L - 5017676000284 WESTLAND Garotta Compost Maker 3.5kg - 5000363010246 APTA 31cm Standard Pot - 5022413029343 KENT & STOWE Hand Trowel - 5060396797255 VITAX Q4 Fertiliser 2.5kg - 5012351090062 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Orchid Pot Saucer 16.5cm - 5025644912774 GROWTH TECHNOLOGY Houseplant Myst 300ml - 5025644913504 STEWART Clear Drip Saucer 8 inch - 5022938844087

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A years subscription costs just £145. Sign up on-line using the GTN Bestsellers link on www.gardentradenews.co.uk or e-mail trevor@pottingshedpress.co.uk

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February 2021 27


GTN BESTSELLERS Pre Lockdown, weeks 1-12

Summer after re-opening, weeks 20 - 35

Top 50 WBC

Top 50 WBC

Top 50 Veg 2 Gro

Top 50 Veg 2 Gro

Top 50 Growing Media

Top 50 Growing Media

Top 50 Garden Products

Top 50 Garden Products

2020

2019

2020

2019

September onwards, weeks 36-51

Lockdown, weeks 13 - 19 Top 50 Christmas

Top 50 WBC

Top 50 WBC Top 50 Veg 2 Gro Top 50 Veg 2 Gro Top 50 Growing Media Top 50 Growing Media

Top 50 Garden Products

Top 50 Garden Products

2020

2020

2019

Media sales volumes is probably the clearest indication of increased actual gardening activity, especially container based growing activity. That plant sales grew most in the Autumn indicates a potential new longterm opportunity for New Gardeners who want to buy plants to decorate their gardens all year round and do not behave by traditional gardening habits. Lastly the 69% growth in Veg 2 Gro reflects a surge in people finding they can be more sustainable themselves and take great pleasure from growing their own.

Easter 2021 and the weeks leading up to it have the potential to be record sales weeks for gardening as the nation starts to come out of lockdown. GTN Bestsellers will track sales week by week to see just how much of the gap caused by lockdown can be filled. Will sales just get back to 2019 levels or will they zoom to new heights? > GTN Bestsellers predicts sales up by as much as 20% on “normal” levels if we have great weather and up by 5% if the weather is poor. Do you agree? E-mail trevor@pottingshedpress. co.uk with your thoughts.

Mintel's forecast for Gardening Retail Sales published in June 2020

28 February 2021

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2019

GTN Bestsellers is a weekly subscription service provided by GTN using EPOS data supplied by garden centres. A year’s subscription to receive the printed newsletter with Top 50 Bestselling Product Charts every week costs just £145. Full details and a payment link can be found in the GTN Xtra e-mail newsletter www.gardentradenews.co.uk. Or e-mail: trevor@pottingshedpress.co.uk


Last chance to view Woodlodge’s new Snowlodge Christmas Décor range See the virtual portal from your own office right now!

There is still time to indulge in the festive spirit with Woodlodge’s brand new Snowlodge range for Christmas 2021. This exciting offering, made up of over 1,400 products, is supported by a dedicated virtual portal where the full range is on display for buyers to view from the comfort of their own office. Featuring popular favourites such as room decorations, ornaments, baubles, candle light and tea holders, plushes, outdoor display pieces and joyeux pot covers, the new Snowlodge offering represents a true onestop-shop for retailers in all things Christmas. To make viewing the products as easy as possible during current restrictions, buyers can view the range through a 3D virtual portal

and ‘walk through’ the Snowlodge product hub online. The portal can be accessed through www.woodlodge.co.uk/snowlodge and enables buying teams to view Snowlodge Christmas Décor offering together, helping to make more definitive choices for their centres ahead of the 2021 festive season. The product hub is also available to physically view at the Cranmore Park Conference Centre in Solihull. Access to this 3000 square feet winter wonderland is available by appointment only. Stocked with the complete Snowlodge offering, buyers will be walked through the area by a Woodlodge sales representative, who will outline the product USPs and can assist with direct ordering.

This hub will be open until March 25th, with deliveries into stores from September. Retailers will also be able to view Woodlodge’s Honey & Wild range of garden décor via both the hub and virtual portal. First launched at the company’s showroom, ‘Glee@ Woodlodge’ last year, the portfolio consists of fun and whimsical products such as stakes, lanterns, metal statues, garden mirrors, wall planters, bird feeders and garden mobiles. Managing Director, Michael Wooldridge said: “After a quiet Christmas in 2020, consumers are expected to go big on their festive decorations this year, after months of being apart from loved ones. With this year’s celebrations expected to be heavily family orientated, the Snowlodge offering is a carefully curated portfolio of products that have been selected to drive sales during the crucial Christmas season.” To book your place at the Snowlodge product hub or to receive a Snowlodge catalogue, please email Tara Truman, on taratruman@woodlodge.co.uk or Abigail Stocker on abigailstocker@woodlodge.co.uk


VIEWPOINT

Perfect opportunity for plant sales BOYD J DOUGLAS-DAVIES, HTA PRESIDENT

Early new year sales data suggests that demand for plants will be strong this season, there’s no real reason to be surprised by this with circa 3 million discovering, and becoming active in, their outdoor space for the first-time last year. Many of these new garden actives will have had the gift of time which allowed them to water and tend their plants far more frequently than they would have without lockdown/working from home. Companies are reviewing their work from home policy with many deciding that this is something to be encouraged, not only for the coming year but as a long-term option. So good news for the industry? Yes, if we plan to cope with the challenges this, combined with social distance working, will bring this coming spring. Production nurseries will have to contend with social distancing throughout production, preparation and despatch areas – it won’t be easy for them so when placing orders please try to work with their issues and everyone will succeed. By now all nurseries will have their plans in place but at the drop of a hat they may lose team members to isolation periods. Preparation, labelling and loading is normally an intense process with many people working in close proximity to each other. Social distancing will make this process less efficient so it is unlikely that any nursery will be able to load as many lorries per day as they have in previous years – bear that in mind before you ring to shout at someone about a late delivery! The rescheduling of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show to September presents, not one but, two opportunities for the industry this year. In 2019 the Monday coverage of the show by the BBC was watched by 3.137million

30 Febraury 2021

people, an increase of over half a million on 2018. That’s a lot of people who will be looking for inspiration this May and garden centres up and down the country can fill the gap left by the show. Create gardens and displays in your centres with ‘the Chelsea look’ and promote them to your customers, work with local media – print, radio and tv – invite them to visit and run features through late May. The second opportunity, of course, comes this Autumn with the new show dates. We always talk of the Chelsea effect around the show in May and now we have the opportunity to feel the benefit in September as well. Rather kindly (wink!) the RHS has chosen to drop the show in to the HTA initiated ‘Million Planting Moments’ campaign. Launched last year, and designed to encourage the British garden army to continue planting into the autumn it attracted attention and support the length and breadth of the country with Prince Charles being the most notable to lend the campaign his voice. By the autumn the vaccination programme will have extended to all ages so we should be able to socialise with family and friends

again – what better place to meet than in a wonderful garden! Promoting long flowering and autumn colour plants will generate plenty of sales this spring and summer. Have you watched the new BBC2 series, ‘Your Garden Made Perfect’ yet? In the first two episodes the completed projects cost £33,000 and £30,000. Neither were huge, the gardens were probably very representative of the millions of gardens our customers have in the UK. Has the time come for garden centres to stop apologising for the price of plants? Look at the price for anything used to decorate the inside of a home and you’ll be shocked – I was!! A quick internet search for floral wallpaper and I found it ranging from £19.99 to £305 per roll. I think plants offer incredible value and a lot more pleasure than an 8m roll of paper! Have we trained our teams to think and talk in this way? > The Horticultural Trades Association is the UK industry’s leading membership organisation. It welcomes all sectors of horticulture – to join please contact services@hta.org.uk.

Watch BBC2's 'Your Garden Made Perfect' on BBC iplayer www.bbc.co.uk

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Introducing Whistler Grills new Modular Kitchens – a bespoke outdoor kitchen solution to make your al fresco dining dreams come true! Adding to a range of luxury freestanding barbecues, integrated built-in grills and accessories, is the new Whistler Grills Cirencester Modular Kitchen System. Take your outdoor entertaining dreams to the next level with a high-quality Modular Kitchen personally tailored to suit your home and budget. Comprising of a selection of high quality products, including triple drawers, pull out drawers, outdoor refrigerators and outdoor sink units, the Whistler Grills Cirencester Modular Kitchen system offers endless combinations when it comes to creating a bespoke outdoor kitchen, built with your home and outdoor space in mind. This premium solution is packed with many of Whistler Grills’ most impressive features – including the Cirencester four or six burner grill, two of the finest BBQ’s, with stainless steel hoods, infra-red back burners and side burners. Alongside this, the highest of quality laminate tops and a plethora of many different

storage units complete with sturdy handles for creating your dream outdoor entertaining area. We understand that everyone’s outdoor kitchen dreams look different and each outdoor living space is unique too, that’s why the Cirencester Modular System is a bespoke solution that allows you, the customer, to design your out- door kitchen exactly as you want. With a broad range of modular units available, storage possibilities are simply endless – combine extra drawers and cupboard space to cater for your personal needs. If you’re looking for a flexible approach to outdoor dining, Whistler Grills’ Cirencester Modular System 45° and 90°-degree corner units offer the ultimate in adaptability, allowing you to create your kitchen based around your outdoor space. Taking flexibility one step further, opt for adjustable levelling castors on your modular units and enjoy the ability to adjust the height of your units according to your patio or flooring – for a professional finish to your outdoor kitchen. There’s no compromise on quality either. With the Whistler Grills Cirencester Modular Kitchen System, you can expect a bespoke solution that will last for many years. Cooking surfaces (one of the most important parts of any BBQ) and stainless steel sinks are made using 304 stainless steel – a high-grade material is because of its resistance to oxidization and corrosion – whilst Laminam is used for counter tops, (a premium

robust material that is not only wear resistant, chemical resistant, scratch resistant and UV resistant, but hygienic and high-strength too). So, you can rest assured that your outdoor entertaining area will not only look premium, but perform to the highest standard too. Once you’ve decided on your configuration, simply attach your units together with butterfly screws, and expect a sleek and premium finish thanks to features like the 90°-degree cabinet corner which enables you to hide the gas bottle deep within the kitchen. Once you’ve tailored your bespoke outdoor kitchen to your patio or garden area and built your dream outdoor kitchen using the Whistler Grills impressive and innovative Cirencester system of modular units, all that’s left to do is fire up the barbecue and enjoy your new outdoor entertaining space.

www.whistlergrills.com Whistler Grills Limited Whistlergrillsltd_ @GrillsLimited


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