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SOLEX SPECIALor

aj Preview of the m oor td Ou d an er m Sum ow Leisure Sh

Chelsea Spectacular

Plant Bestsellers

Report & pictures from the world’s greatest flower show p24-28

Find out what’s taking the gardening world by storm p20-22

gtn JUNE 2018

Advice and information for garden centre professionals

Table Toppers Who will take over at the top of the garden centre group chart?

gardentradenews.co.uk

Sale of the Century As 145 Wyevale Garden Centres are put up for sale by Terra Firma’s Guy Hands, GTN investigates how the industry’s largest group could be sold off. Special Report on pages 2-4


ANALYSIS

Sale of the century GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer analyses the decision to put Wyevale Garden Centres up for sale and the repercussions for the industry. Interesting times ahead... On Tuesday 22nd May 2018, Terra Firma announced it had put the “For Sale” sign up on all of its 145 Wyevale Garden Centres, with a price tag of £442 million. Unlike many other retail transactions at the moment, Terra Firma is prepared to sell individual centres, groups of centres, or if someone wanted to buy the complete estate, all 145. That makes it the ‘Sale of the Century’ for garden centres in the UK and the outcome could change the face of garden centre retailing dramatically. Christie & Co – a specialist business property advisor – has started the process of marketing the centres, of which 81 are offered with Freehold and 64 as Leasehold sites. A website has been created – www. wyevalegardencentres@christie.com – where full details of each site can be accessed after completion of a Non Disclosure Agreement. The deadline for the submission of initial bids has been set as Tuesday June 26th 2018. After the first round of bids, selected potential purchasers will then be invited to do due diligence before revising any final offers.

2 June 2018

Why now? A change of ownership for Wyevale Garden Centres was always going to happen ever since Terra Firma bought the business for £276 million in 2012. As Guy Hands explained at Chelsea Flower Show the day before the announcement: “The fund is six years old now, we’ve had two years of extensions, but now the investors want us to do something. We’ve always said to them we’re going to get the centres looking good, get the customers in and that will be the right timing.” Traditionally investors would be looking to double or treble their investments over a three to five-year period, so the £442 million price tag set in the prospectus, combined with the sale and leaseback deals carried out in 2015, indicates that is still their aim. Selling them all to one buyer in the current climate, Homebase has just been bought for £1, would probably mean investors would not get the returns they are expecting. However, Terra Firma has been able to turn the peaks and troughs of the past few weeks trading into a positive sales story. According to a company statement:

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“The sale comes at an advanced stage of a turnaround programme for Wyevale Garden Centres, which has seen significant investment in the core business. Customers and colleagues have responded positively to these improvements with the business now achieving sales and profit growth. “The business has enjoyed exceptionally strong sales in recent weeks, with a record breaking Mayday Bank Holiday weekend, the highest one-week sales ever, and May is on track to be the most profitable month in the company’s history.” So, as most garden centres are breathing a sigh of relief that there is now a distinct possibility of trading getting back to last year’s levels, and maybe get ahead after the effects of the poor weather in March and April, Terra Firma is trading on the records set in May as a good time to exit. Who will be bidding? Whilst there may be an outside bid for the whole group, perhaps Nicholas Marshall, who has intimate knowledge of most of the sites, will leave his garden leave at Dobbies to head up a purchase bid, the most likely


EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Garden Trade News, Potting Shed Press Ltd Dairy Drove Thorney Peterborough PE6 0TX Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838 gardentradenews@tgcmc.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk

Guy Hands, pictured at Chelsea Flower Show with actress Felicity Kendall.

“We’ve always said to investors we’re going to get the centres looking good, get the customers in and that will be the right timing” scenario is that smaller groups of garden centres will look to add centres that fit within their geographical regions or target demographics and that individual centres will be bid for by nearby centres looking to expand or investors and entrepreneurs. Our chart of the Top 10 groups (see page 18), by number of sites, highlights the early runners: Dobbies investors Midlothian Capital stated an intent to buy new centres when it bought the business from Tesco in 2016. Blue Diamond already has negotiations ongoing for five new sites, but will this opportunity cause Alan Roper to make a step change and double the size of the group in one fell swoop? Cherry Lane has been very acquisitive of late, buying The Barn in Peterborough and David’s Nurseries in Worcester. Could QD Stores also make a step change by buying a number of the sites? Charles Stubbs, of British Garden Centres, has mentioned to GTN a number of times that he would like to bid for some of the Wyevale centres and Hillview’s intention was to grow to a group of 20 centres when it first

bought Studley Garden Centre from Hilliers back in 2011. Martin Breddy, MD of Squires, told GIMA members last month that the company would look very closely at any opportunities to add centres within its existing geographical area. Perhaps this opportunity is also too good for Klondyke or Notcutts to turn down despite their focus on improving existing centres over the past two years. And then there are a host of owners with three of four centres who could and indeed are looking to add further sites. Haskins has been searching for specific sized sites in the South and East, Whitehall grew to three last year, and Scotsdales (three sites) has been running well over the past three years. What about any of the former owners who sold out to Wyevale buying their business back? Will Armitage, the Reads of Podington, and even John Ravenscroft, must be looking at the prices and working out whether they want to start all over again.

THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope neil.pope@tgcmc.co.uk Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt mike.wyatt@tgcmc.co.uk Director: Trevor Pfeiffer trevor.pfeiffer@tgcmc.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 Tel 01733 775700 or email 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 Potting Shed Press Ltd, who also publish: * www.gardentradenews.co.uk website * Weekly GTN Xtra and Pet Trade Xtra newsletters * Garden Radio * 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 © Potting Shed Press 2018. 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. 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 event of any bankruptcy or liquidation or cessation of the trade of any company, individual or firm mentioned, is hereby excluded.

Continued on page 4 www.gardentradenews.co.uk

June 2018 3


ANALYSIS Wyevale Garden Centres for sale with Freehold Centre Woodcote Green Heighley Gate World’s End Sanders Garden World Woodbridge Codicote Beaconsfield Melbicks Percy Thrower Leicester Rowena Moreton Park Peter Baratt’s Stockton Findern Poppleton Hare Hatch Havant Marple Andover Woburn Sands Hungerford Pennine Swindon Galton Windsor Keston Old Barn Cadnam Tunbridge Wells Winnersh Bury St Edmunds Blooms Worcester Hitchin Marlow Wolseley Bridge Chipperfield Seven Hills Gardenlands John Brown Jack’s Patch Louth World of Pets and Leisure Playhatch Taunton Cheddar Heathlands Pulborough Fair Oak Chilton Binfield Enfield Worthing Ferring Bold Heath Carr Gate Albrighton Hemel Hempstead Shirley Lewes Lower Dicker Podington Wolds View Chichester Sherfield On Loddon Dummer Raglan Blooms Bressingham Leyland Wych Cross Keynsham Tarporley Sudbury Ashford Bude Hamstreet Landford Par Sidmouth Aldridge Hereford Oxford Salisbury Wellingborough

County London Northumberland Buckinghamshire

Acres 20.00 49.80 10.90

Offers Based on £35,000,000 £14,000,000 £13,000,000

Somerset

6.00

£12,250,000

Suffolk Hertfordshire Buckinghamshire West Midlands Shropshire Leicestershire North East Wales

6.27 5.86 5.97 11.61 7.66 6.45 6.64

£11,250,000 £10,000,000 £9,250,000 £9,250,000 £8,500,000 £8,000,000 £8,000,000

Durham

4.20

£8,000,000

Derbyshire North Yorkshire Berkshire Hampshire Greater Manchester Berkshire Buckinghamshire Berkshire West Yorkshire Wiltshire Dorset Berkshire London Surrey Hampshire Kent Berkshire Suffolk Worcestershire Hertfordshire Buckinghamshire West Midlands Hertfordshire Surrey West Midlands Dorset Devon Lincolnshire

5.22 6.80 10.89 5.95 7.10 5.97 9.61 2.67 3.20 3.73 11.07 3.14 3.80 15.53 3.38 20.97 9.20 4.34 17.00 3.54 3.80 7.55 7.94 4.42 22.24 6.01 15.25 4.97

£7,500,000 £7,500,000 £7,250,000 £7,000,000 £7,000,000 £6,500,000 £6,500,000 £6,000,000 £6,000,000 £5,750,000 £5,500,000 £5,500,000 £5,250,000 £5,200,000 £5,000,000 £5,000,000 £5,000,000 £4,600,000 £3,800,000 £3,800,000 £3,800,000 £3,800,000 £3,500,000 £3,500,000 £3,400,000 £3,400,000 £3,100,000 £3,000,000

Greater Manchester

7.20

£3,000,000

Berkshire Somerset Somerset Berkshire West Sussex Hampshire Oxfordshire Berkshire London West Sussex Lancashire West Yorkshire West Midlands Hertfordshire London East Sussex East Sussex Bedfordshire Lincolnshire West Sussex

2.09 4.33 8.85 13.86 21.46 6.20 6.87 4.16 4.90 3.70 2.51 5.31 6.20 6.07 0.90 3.29 4.27 3.31 4.65 7.09

£2,800,000 £2,800,000 £2,700,000 £2,700,000 £2,700,000 £2,600,000 £2,400,000 £2,400,000 £2,300,000 £2,300,000 £2,100,000 £2,100,000 £2,000,000 £2,000,000 £2,000,000 £1,900,000 £1,800,000 £1,800,000 £1,800,000 £1,700,000

Hampshire

10.10

£1,600,000

Hampshire Monmouthshire Norfolk Lancashire East Sussex Bristol Cheshire Suffolk Devon Cornwall Kent Wiltshire Cornwall Devon West Midlands Herefordshire Oxfordshire Wiltshire Northamptonshire

2.10 7.42 5.60 4.76 3.82 4.45 5.90 35.68 5.10 5.94 8.80 5.90 5.12 2.61 5.91 7.95 4.87 6.95 5.44

£1,500,000 £1,500,000 £1,400,000 £1,400,000 £1,400,000 £1,300,000 £1,200,000 £1,100,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £900,000 £800,000 £800,000 £800,000 £800,000 £700,000

4 June 2018

Wyevale Garden Centres for sale Leasehold Centre Shenstone Brighton Swansesa Springfield Blooms Rugby Woodlands Croydon Purley Way Cadbury Huntingdon Telford Blooms Gloucester Northampton Bridgemere Royston Lower Morden Blooms Cardiff Ramsgate Barnett Hill Stratford Upon Avon Osterley Lechlade Bournville Bicester Avenue Hereford Harlestone Heath Braintree Thornbury Thatcham Tring Lelant Altrincham Birchencliffe Peter Baratt’s Gosforth Crockford Bridge Dorking Findon Crawley Ongar Hastings Endsleigh Rake Woking Blooms Cheltenham Nailsworth Syon Park Canterbury Chartham Stevenage Potters Bar Upminster Brockworth Harrow Carmarthen Paddock Wood Coventry Blooms Solihull Bolton Blooms Swindon Crowland Stanway Sprowston Elm Court Rayleigh Wimborne West Parley

County Staffordshire East Sussex South Wales Essex Warwickshire Leicestershire

Acres 7.98 3.04 6.03 1.72 17.00 17.10

Offers Based on £8,500,000 £7,000,000 £5,250,000 £4,400,000 £4,000,000 £3,400,000

London

2.57

£2,800,000

Bristol Cambridgeshire Shropshire

5.97 20.26 9.47

£2,500,000 £2,200,000 £2,100,000

Gloucestershire

8.10

£2,000,000

Northamptonshire Cheshire Hertfordshire London South Wales Kent West Midlands

14.35 108.00 10.50 3.08 8.20 4.62 18.04

£1,900,000 £1,700,000 £1,500,000 £1,400,000 £1,300,000 £1,300,000 £1,200,000

West Midlands

4.28

£1,200,000

London Gloucestershire West Midlands Oxfordshire Herefordshire Northamptonshire Essex Bristol Berkshire Hertfordshire Cornwall Greater Manchester West Yorkshire

7.00 4.52 1.89 22.00 7.95 6.48 3.90 9.19 8.80 5.75 5.53 4.10 2.20

£1,100,000 £1,100,000 £1,100,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £1,000,000 £900,000 £900,000 £900,000 £900,000 £900,000 £900,000

Tyne & Wear

18.50

£800,000

Surrey Surrey West Sussex West Sussex Essex East Sussex Devon Surrey Surrey

6.24 6.44 4.00 3.99 6.01 1.12 13.84 4.58 3.62

£800,000 £700,000 £700,000 £700,000 £600,000 £600,000 £500,000 £500,000 £500,000

Gloucestershire

3.00

£500,000

Gloucestershire Middlesex

2.84 2.69

£500,000 £500,000

Kent

2.68

£500,000

Hertfordshire Hertfordshire London Gloucestershire London South West Wales Kent Warwickshire West Midlands Greater Manchester Wiltshire Cambridgeshire Essex Norfolk Kent Essex Dorset Dorset

7.80 6.91 6.85 3.75 3.58 3.23 3.20 4.66 7.00 4.40 3.63 8.86 5.87 5.31 3.96 3.24 2.43 2.05

£400,000 £400,000 £400,000 £400,000 £400,000 £400,000 £400,000 £300,000 £250,000 £250,000 £250,000 £200,000 £200,000 £200,000 £200,000 £200,000 £200,000 £200,000

Continued from page 3 And then there will be a host of people knocking on investors’ doors with plans to put in a bid. Carol Paris has a fund to develop new sites or re-generate old nurseries using the Rosebourne brand so new investors would be needed to buy any of the Wyevale sites. At £27.5 million for the seven previously Garden & Leisure centres that may be tempting several of the old G&L management team into action. Finally, as always happens when we do this kind of analysis, someone new comes in from left field. Could another discount retailer table a bid? Could someone from the catering business spot the opportunity for daytime eating with retail sales to boot? Or could we even get an overseas operator come into the mix? The question now is a bit like garden centre poker. Who will twist and add to their estate? Who will stick and make the most of their existing business given all is changing yet again around them? Or who will stretch themselves too far and not pay attention to the unique challenges of the UK garden, home and catering markets and go bust? One thing is for sure, there will be plenty of meetings with potential financiers between now and June 26th as the first round of the ‘Sale of the Century’ comes to a close.

Facts & Figures

145 Locations 8.1 acres Average site size 315,000 Average annual

footfall per location

£2,275,000 Average annual sales per location

£140,000 Average annual The 9-acre leasehold site at Crowland, near Peterborough, could be yours for just £200,000.

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concession rental income per location


GTN PROMOTION

It’s business as usual at Kelkay!

Managing Director Antony Harker outlines some exciting plans for the future while emphasising it’s business as usual.

What’s been your key to the success over the past few years? I came from a garden centre background so I think I understand what it’s like to be in retail. I hope that shows in the way Kelkay operate because we try to make sure we put the garden centres at the heart of everything we do. What’s been your proudest moment? We started from nothing 15 years ago and it’s been very hard work but enjoyable and very rewarding. At the beginning Hayley and I had to do everything ourselves. To be honest we are both still very involved in the day to day business and I’m very proud to have two of my daughters also working in the business now. I’ve also got a fantastic team around me, some of whom have been with the business almost from day 1. First day of GLEE each year is a time I feel most proud of them all – because there is such a lot of work throughout the year and that first morning I can see it all come together. Exhausting though! You were recently acquired by AMES UK. What’s the thinking behind this move? The AMES Companies identified the UK garden market as a great opportunity and they needed the right partner businesses to realise their ambitions. Kelkay is a strong business with a very capable management team and an excellent reputation in the UK garden market as well as a highly appealing product range. So it offered them an ideal opportunity. At the same time, I’d been looking for interesting and exciting opportunities to take Kelkay to the next level and this opportunity came along just at the right time.

La Hacienda pioneered the development of the outdoor heating category. The Sierra Chimenea is a best seller in garden centres.

✓ Founded by brothers Simon and John Goodwin in 1989. ✓ Pioneered the new outdoor heating category in the UK. ✓ Introduced their first Chimenea in 1998. ✓ Range expanded to include 120 outdoor heating lines. ✓ Average 100 new products every year since 2010.

Kelkay are known for their volume-driving merchandising solutions – like this one for Easy Fountain garden features.

6 June 2018

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What specifically does AMES see in Kelkay that makes it so attractive? We already have a recognisable brand and a strong sales team plus a very customer focused strategy and an impressive in store merchandising programme. That, together with the marketing and innovation in the La Hacienda business gave AMES the platform they were seeking for their development into the UK. What made you think this was the right move for Kelkay? We were already talking about investment and growth plans for the UK when the opportunity to combine their ambitions with our strengths in the UK market came up. And it was very appealing! Together, AMES, La Hacienda and Kelkay have a greater combined strength and it opens more exciting opportunities for our suppliers, our employees and our customers in the future. AMES have a great range of products across many categories, already well established in Australia and USA. So they provide a huge opportunity for us to expand. What changes do you expect to see now you have new owners? We will continue to run Kelkay just as we have in the past. But we expect to be able


GTN PROMOTION

Antony Harker, AMES Group UK MD, with Simon & John Goodwin, founders of La Hacienda, discuss joint development opportunities. to bring a broader range of great value products for our retail customers and consumers. AMES think very much like we do when it comes to people, customers, suppliers and we are all agreed that it’s important to keep hold of the personalities of the Kelkay and La Hacienda businesses. We will also benefit from AMES specialist teams in their offices in Shanghai and Shenzhen – having our own people in close touch with the supply factories, and all the quality control, scheduling, shipping and daily face to face contact will make our operations here more efficient. Will there be any changes in personnel as a result of the acquisition? Well, the fact is that the business now has an even firmer foundation on which to grow, so I fully expect to be announcing new positions in the company in the near future – we simply need more hands on deck! Of course the core teams at both Kelkay and La Hacienda have been instrumental in bringing the business to this point – and there will be plenty more challenges and opportunities for them as we move forward. You’re going to be MD for the whole group – what will that mean for you? It’s going to mean more challenges and a great development opportunity, and I suspect more time away from home! La Hacienda, which is the other major group company in the UK, is located in Gloucestershire so I expect I’ll be spending quite a bit of time down there. Selling Kelkay was a major decision for me, but the

opportunity to remain in the business and help to drive the AMES growth agenda is one of the aspects that made the deal attractive for me personally. You mentioned new products and category development. Is this going to come from other AMES group companies? There are many diverse product categories covered by AMES across USA, Canada and Australasia so we will be evaluating the potential in the UK for many of them in the coming months. From garden tools, pots and containers to watering equipment and wheelbarrows, we are now in the great position to have the experience of colleagues all over the world to help us with future expansion plans. I can’t say how this will develop right now, but you can be sure there are lots of opportunities.

To find out more about Kelkay go to www.kelkay.com or email the general office on salesenquiries@kelkay.co.uk or call to speak to us on 01405 869333. Kelkay The Old Airfield, Heck & Pollington Lane, Pollington, East Yorkshire, DN14 0BA.

www.gardentradenews.co.uk

So what’s next for Kelkay, La Hacienda and AMES UK? In the immediate future, we are focused on delivering on our promises for this season and working hard on the development plans in our core ranges for 2019. In that respect, it’s very much business as usual and our customers can expect a great range of new products and promotions from both Kelkay and La Hacienda at GLEE 2018. It’s very important to me that our customers continue to receive the same service as they have come to expect – after all it’s our garden centre partners who have helped us get to where we are today. Behind the scenes, I’ll be working with the teams at Kelkay and La Hacienda as well as the management in AMES to develop our longer term plans for the future. So I’m not expecting a holiday anytime soon!

To contact La Hacienda go to www.lahacienda.co.uk, email sales@lahacienda.co.uk, or call to speak to us on 01285 762060. La Hacienda Ltd., Hangar 27, Site C, Aston Down Airfield, Nr. Stroud, GL6 8HR. For more information on The AMES Companies go to http://global.ames.com

June 2018 7


SOLEX PREVIEW

UK summer outdoor living exhibition Tues 10 July – Thurs 12 July Hall 5 NEC Birmingham The organisers of SOLEX have promised that the 2018 edition of the popular summer outdoor living trade show will be their biggest and best to date. Organised each July by the Leisure & Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA) for its members, it is an annual three-day event attracting national and international retail and contract purchasing directors and managers. This unique event brings together the leading manufacturers of furniture, barbecues, gazebos, parasols, outdoor lighting and play equipment, creating a showcase for new developments in design, environmental manufacturing, sustainability and production for the retail and contract markets. SOLEX has steadily grown in size and stature since the inaugural event at Telford in 2008, re-locating to Hall 5 at the NEC in 2013 to meet the escalating demand for show

space. The 10th anniversary show in 2017 built on the first nine successful shows with more exhibition space, new developments and more exhibitors, while retaining the relaxed, friendly and business-like atmosphere that

visitors have come to value. For 2018, the organisers are aiming to attract more visitors, more media enquiries and professional specifiers of garden products, including landscape architects, designers and contractors.

La Hacienda turn up the heat as stockist network grows For nearly 30 years, La Hacienda (stand 120) have been at the forefront of the outdoor heating market and are firmly established as one of the category’s leading global brands. To meet the needs of an ever-growing stockist network, new products to be showcased at solex include chimeneas, firepits and electric heaters. Their vast range of firepits, catering for all needs, is innovative, striking and practical, ideal for retailers keen to offer the latest in

8 June 2018

outdoor heating. The substantial new ‘Brava’ firepit (pictured below left), featuring an eye-catching bold banded design, is a must for any serious collection. La Hacienda’s latest line of efficient and cost effective electric heaters provides instant heat at the flick of a switch. With many different models and a range of element options, La Hacienda are a one stop shop for outdoor leisure displays. The ‘Aruba’ Two Way Electric Heater (pictured right) is a stylish powerhouse with a foldable arm enabling heat from a vertical or horizontal position, plus a wheeled base. The unit, operated through a remote control, is fully adjustable with five heat and light settings. You can extend your electric outdoor heating offering even further with La Hacienda’s parasol and ceiling mounted heaters, which pair well with any outdoor furniture display. La Hacienda supplies the garden trade, online retailers and major purchasing groups. As well as providing excellent products and service, La Hacienda’s recognised brand and exceptional reputation helps to establish, build and retain high volume sales.

www.gardentradenews.co.uk


SOLEX PREVIEW

Zest back with expanded range As leading timber garden furniture manufacturers, Zest 4 Leisure (stand 580) are making a return to SOLEX this year with a range of quality furniture, designed for style and built to last. They will be showcasing products that include GIMA award winners, as well as top sellers and innovative additions to their extensive collection. Zest 4 Leisure’s range continues to expand and develop, offering the widest choice of timber garden furniture from benches and dining sets to swings and BBQ shelters. Alwyn Williams, Head of Zest 4 Leisure, said: “Customer satisfaction and product design are at the heart of everything we do and we are very much looking forward to this year’s Solex.” W: zest4leisure.co.uk

Katie Blake covers all market needs Katie Blake outdoor furniture (Glencrest, stand 410) has quickly become one of the UK’s best selling ranges. Produced and designed by Katie Blake, the furniture appeals to all levels of the market. The Seville set shown here is offered with four- six- or eight-chair combinations. A smart ice bucket in the centre of the table allows the parasol to slide through the ice bucket. Produced in a mix of full and half round rattan weave, this top quality, smart and extremely comfortable Katie Blake furniture comes with a 10-year guarantee. W: glencrestseatex.co.uk

Joint Hartman to celebrate 50 years Shade just where you need it... Ideal for balconies and compact spaces, the unique FLEX ROOF from Swiss parasol experts Glatz (distributed by AEL Outdoor Solutions, stand 240) provides shade where needed without having to move or rearrange furniture in your outside space. The rectangular canopy roof can be adjusted depending on the position of the sun and the telescopic tube is designed for a stepless height setting. Lightweight and effortless to adjust, the Flex Roof not only tilts, swivels and slides, it can also be positioned vertically to ensure perfect privacy. Its polyester cover is provided with a 50+ UPF sun protection factor. W: AELSolutions.com

Hartman (stand 505) will be celebrating 50 years at the forefront of the outdoor furniture industry with another display of the latest in innovative, quality outdoor furniture to suit every size and shape of outdoor space. Hartman’s versatile collection includes premium resin weave, high quality cast aluminium, FSC certified hardwood and a diverse range of shading options. Also on show will be their hugely successful weather-ready cushions, permeable cushions that can be kept outside all summer long. Customers are invited to join in the celebrations. W: hartmanuk.com

www.gardentradenews.co.uk

June 2018 9


10 June 2018

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The Seville collection from Katie Blake is out selling its competitors. Our customers are reporting that Katie Blake outdoor furniture outsells other brands by up to three times. “Excellent quality and design at the right price - This range appeals to more people with its comfort and style” Come and see the Katie Blake Collection at the Solex Exhibition and find out what you are missing. Great Furniture backed by a 10 year guarantee, nice people and a lot more. You can’t miss us we have one of the largest stands! Visit us at Solex in 2018 on stand 410 Glencrest Seatex Limited, Seatex House, Unit 1 Airborne Industrial Estate, A127 Southend Arterial Road, Eastwood, Southend, Essex SS9 4EX. t: 01702 527814 e: sales@glencrestseatex.co.uk

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June 2018 11


SOLEX PREVIEW

Harbo (stand 550) has launched a new range of beautifully crafted outdoor kitchens and high quality gas fired barbeques from US designers Mont Alpi for season 2019 The long-established Harbo team have recently signed an exclusive distribution agreement on an exciting new range of US developed barbeques and outdoor kitchens. The new Mont Alpi range includes top of the range deluxe outdoor kitchens they claim will bring a new meaning to the well-coined phrase ‘outdoor room’. There’s a range of flexible units, including fridge, sink, 90 degree and 45 degree corners as well as deep pull out drawer sections and 4 or 6 burner barbeque sections. Polished granite surfaces in ebony or cool ice white will suit both traditional and more contemporary garden styles. The outdoor kitchen range is adaptable to any shape or size of outdoor space, and for a more modest sized patio there’s a range of sophisticated stand-alone gas-fired cart barbeques that also feature the same easy-

Harbo launch Mont Alpi luxurious outdoor kitchens range for 2019 All products in the range are made from stainless steel and feature LED-lit control knobs, halogen-lit cooking surfaces and dual layer ceramic infrared burners that create real barbeque smoke and flavour. Including electronic ignition, gliding rubber castors, 8mm cooking grills and temperature gauge, Mont Alpi barbeques have all the equipment you would expect on a top of the range propane gas barbeque. The full range will be on show at SOLEX W: harbo.co.uk Top: MB600 stainless steel 6 burner deluxe barbeque, 90 degree corner units, pull out units, sink unit and fridge - all supplied ready assembled with 70mm granite worktop and end panels. to-clean granite style tops. Prices start at SRP £699 for a 3 burner with 18mm granite top.

Left: D470B stainless steel 4 burner deluxe barbeque with 70mm granite worktop.

Kadai pizza oven adds wow factor for new season Kadai Firebowls by Wilstone (stand 230) will be returning to Solex for the fourth year running to showcase a variety of current best-selling products and a selection of new arrivals for 2019. You will see the existing Kadai firebowls, plus a new improved design featuring a heavy duty bottom, accompanied by a five-year warranty. The show-stopping metre-wide Wilstone Kadai with Tripod Pulley System (pictured) will be making an appearance, perfect for cooking food that needs to be temperature controlled. The Tripod Pulley System is amongst the latest must have gadgets for live fire cooking, the hottest new trend on the barbecue scene. New for 2018/19 is the Kadai Woodfired Pizza Oven, a fantastic one-of-a-kind cooking accessory that sits on top of the Kadai bowl to bring that wow factor to social events. Take a look, too, at their gazebos and rose arches, both of which come with a 10 year warranty as well as the Decorative Diamond Plant Obelisk, which comes with a five-year warranty. The company will also bring along new shields for the Kadais, garden plant sticks, recycled garden furniture and an extensive firebowl accessory range. W: kadai.com

12 June 2018

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Join the Vertical Gardening Revolution Join the Vertical Gardening Revolution and start stocking Wonderwall now – Patented Self Watering Vertical Garden Planter System.

Coolings have used Wonderwall effectively at the entrance of their award-winning garden centre.

Above: Wonderwall created a stunning display at Chelsea Flower Show in 2017.

Attractive packaging, great POS Solutions and an Affordable Price Point excel Wonderwall as your ideal vertical gardening partner.

Verticle gardening is a huge growth area for the UK’s Garden Centres. Our market leading product is consistently selling well within the GTN bestseller charts. Currently stocked in over 180 garden centres, including Ayletts, Notcutts, Coolings, Blue Diamond, Klondyke, Dobbies and Newbank.

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You too can lead your customers to walls of wonder – contact Rick McKeever on 07834 372468, E: rick.mckeever@uspcreations.com W: www.wonderwall.direct

June 2018 13


PEOPLE

5 MINUTES WITH NICK ANDERSON Director Norfolk Leisure Are you now settled into your new premises? Very much so, the team has grown and every department is running well. The warehouse and distribution in particular is the best it has ever been. The site is over seven acres so we still have plenty of space to expand further. We have also put new delivery vehicles on the road. It has been a busy few years for Norfolk Leisure, are you happy with how things have gone? We have seen some incredible growth over the last few years in all aspects of the business. The growth is stable and sustainable and we fully expect it to continue. As with everyone else , we came into 2018 after Brexit and Far East increases with a certain amount of uncertainty. But we are still on target for another good season.

the overall position compared to a good weather season but not insurmountably. How important is a show like Solex for the Norfolk Leisure business? SOLEX is the only show we really participate in and it is very important – this year the LOFAssured scheme will be a major focus. Norfolk Leisure is one of the first members to achieve the full LOFAssured certification with recognition of our procedures. The show is focused and attracts the right visitors and absolutely the perfect platform to launch the new season ranges. Our space will be even bigger again this year and the pressure to deliver in the three important days even greater than before.

Has the recent bad weather made the outdoor leisure market tougher, and how do you cope with the challenges it throws up? Oh yes, undeniably this sector is controlled by the weather and the uncertainty gave me a few sleepless nights, but it is very clear that in our end of the market the money is still there. The weather may dictate when the sales happen but they do still happen. The one good weather weekend was exceptional. The bad weather will affect

14 June 2018

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What new things can we expect to see from Norfolk Leisure? The unpredictable 2018 season has shown us the strength of designer ranges and more contemporary high quality designs. We will certainly be introducing more of these – more garden structures, and multi-function furniture plus many more standalone feature and design items. We will also focus on providing a more flexible offer of LIFE ranges from our warehouse, more choice and combination options. Our sales team is also increasing again to better service our customers – new staff have been engaged already and will be introduced to customer in the coming weeks. Norfolk Leisure will be exhibiting at SOLEX, which takes place at the NEC from July 10th to 12th.


RETAIL IDEAS

Solve your customers’ garden emergencies

It’s been a slow start to the season, with the Beast from the East and freezing temperatures keeping gardening off everyone’s to do lists. As a garden industry we need to make the most of the sun finally coming out. Now is the perfect time to appeal to those customers who haven’t picked up secateurs in months but want to enjoy their outside space immediately. Elho UK and Ireland Sales Manager, David Nicholson, comments: “While keen gardeners might have been out in the garden for months already, younger consumers and those new to gardening are only just venturing outside. And they want to create instant impact. As soon as the first BBQ is lit for the season and entertaining begins, their focus will be on sprucing up their garden – quickly.” Pots and planters provide solutions for multiple garden challenges. It’s easy to turn an unloved garden, patio or balcony into a colourful and appealing space with these top three hacks to help your customers transform any outdoor area. Showcase bright pots and planters in different sizes and colours Display planted up pots and planters in store to inspire your customers and sell more plants. Planted up containers are a great way of inspiring customers and increasing the sales transaction. Contrast bold pot colours with plants with lush green foliage. Or pair subtle nude colours with eye-catching pink blooms. David adds: “When we created the Elho range, we specifically segmented it according to consumer type. For instance we have the Loft Urban range. This was created for a younger audience who are looking for trendy colours and funky designs. We’ve also brought out the Loft Urban Frame which is great for displaying plants at different levels and making your plants stand out.”

16 June 2018

Add interest to plain walls or fences with planters Sales show that the rising popularity of growing plants in pots is set to continue into 2018. And a great way to make the most of the trend is showing customers how to take a dull corner of the garden and turn it into a tranquil haven with a lick of paint and some wall and railing mounted planters. Inspire customers to surround themselves with your beautiful plants. Find beauty in unexpected places It is possible to have function and form. Drainpipes are an ugly but necessary reality. Show your customers how to cheer up a dull aspect with a trio of drainpipe mounted pots planted up with colourful Campanulas. An increasing proportion of customers aren’t experienced gardeners. They need support, information and visual inspiration to find the right combination of plant and pot. Use eye-catching displays of planted up pots accompanied by inspirational lifestyle imagery to stay relevant with today’s shoppers. You’ll increase sales and help your customers create stylish outdoor spaces to be proud of – so they’ll be back for years to come. To become an Elho retailer or for more information: Contact David Nicholson. T: 07910 212155. E: david.nicholson@elho.nl W: www.elho.com F: www.facebook.com/elho

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PEOPLE

10 years of Vitavia

We spoke to Tony Hutchinson, Managing Director of Vitavia Garden Products Ltd, to find out how he feels about celebrating the company’s 10th Anniversary in 2018. What thoughts and emotions come to mind when you think about celebrating Vitavia’s 10th Anniversary. It’s quite a milestone and I’m very happy that over the last 10 years Vitavia has become a major supplier to both the UK and European greenhouse markets. Sons Robbie and John and daughter Andrea have all joined Gay and I in the family business and I feel we are in good shape to take on the future challenges of the changing trading environment. Where did you draw inspiration in order to start and build this business? When the offer came to start the UK company and join our European partners in the Vitavia business, it was an opportunity not to be missed. It was an exciting time, starting a business and working for ourselves, but we drew confidence from OPJ in Denmark and EPH in Germany who were already well established in their own markets and also that we had a dedicated supplier in the part owned factory in Qingdao, China. What were your visions in 2008 and how have you met them or even surpassed them? I had already worked in the greenhouse industry for a number of years, mostly in export markets, so the UK was a new area for me. We have worked hard over the last 10 years to become a significant supplier to both the UK and other European markets. In what different ways have you grown Vitavia over the past 10 years? The trading environment has changed dramatically over the last decade, with the emergence of the internet and web retailing.

Over 90% of our business now involves home deliveries and our logistics team has had to adapt accordingly. Our marketing strategies have also had to adapt to the arrival of Google and google ads, facebook and twitter. What do you see as the biggest accomplishments since your start in 2008? I guess just making it to our 10th Anniversary is commendable these days and having Robbie, John and Andrea join Gay and I in this growing business. What is your favourite part about your job? We are part of a truly international business and can arguably claim to be the market leader in Europe. It is very satisfying to work with European and Chinese colleagues in developing new products and strategies under the global Vitavia brand. What is the best piece of leadership advice you have received? When working for yourself in your own SME, attention to every facet and every detail of the business is vital. No job is too small and never be afraid “to get your hands dirty.” Where do you expect to go in the next 10 years? We have already had to make significant changes to our business model with the arrival of the internet and web retailing. With Brexit looming the future is uncertain, but I feel the company is well placed to manage the challenges we will undoubtedly face. With the support of and cooperation with our partners, I can only see further growth both in the UK and Europe.

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Career Moves HTA has announced it will be adding to its horticultural expertise and industry experience with the appointment of two new posts in the coming months. A Horticulture Manager and a Policy Executive will build on the lobbying success achieved by Director of Horticulture, Raoul Curtis-Machin that has significantly raised the profile of ornamental horticulture with UK government, and begun to address issues such as biosecurity and sustainability. Against this background Raoul CurtisMachin is taking the opportunity to pursue a new challenge and will leave the HTA at the end of June. Raoul comments: “I am sad to be leaving the HTA at this exciting time, but this is a great opportunity for me to return to Scotland to be closer to family. I have been thrilled at many of the things that we have achieved at the HTA, and in working collaboratively across the industry. Ornamental horticulture is in a strong position to sell itself as a key provider of environmental, health and wellbeing benefits, and there is a real opportunity to boost UK production, biosecurity, skills and jobs. It’s been a real honour to represent the industry.”

Leading home improvement and garden wholesaler, Decco has appointed Andrew Ballantine as its Chief Operating Officer, following the departure of Charlie Lacey to take up a position as Managing Director of the Stearn Electric Company Limited. The appointment is effective from 1st June 2018. Andrew joined Decco in 1998 and was appointed Profit Centre Manager for Sheffield in 1999 before taking up his current role of Profit Centre Manager for Leeds in 2003. With his 20 years’ service, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge of the industry.

June 2018 17


NEWS ROUND-UP

TALKING POINTS 5 STORIES THAT MADE THE HEADLINES

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2

3

4

Blue Diamond celebrated the acquisition of its 21st garden centre following the completion of the purchase of Orchard Park Garden Centre in Gillingham, North Dorset. MD, Alan Roper, told GTN that it was an ideal addition to the group. “It is in a very good AB1 customer catchment area in a growing town and there is planning permission in place which will allow us to add 3,500 sq m to take the centre to 5,500 sq m overall. Orchard Park is a very well located centre.”

Value garden centre group, Cherry Lane, completed the purchase of David’s Nurseries in Martin Hussingtree, Worcester. The acquisition took place with immediate effect, and made it the 12th garden centre in the group owned by QD. Cherry Lane has stocked the shelves with its signature great value ranges including indoor and outdoor plants, as well as the introduction of new garden furniture and solar lighting lines.

Carol Paris, the former CEO of the HTA, announced the launch of a new garden centre group called Somerton Ltd. Developing garden centres in Southern England, the business will focus on high growth sectors, including fresh local food and table service restaurants.. Puma Investments and individual investors have financed the creation of Somerton Ltd. Puma Investments is the principle investor in Rosebourne, which opened its first garden centre in Andover 18 months ago.

1 2 3 4= 4= 6 7 8= 8= 8=

Outlets

Wyevale Garden Centres Dobbies Klondyke Blue Diamond Notcutts Squires Hilliers Cherry Lane Hillview British Garden Centres

145 34 22 21 18 15 12 12 11 10

Change since June 2016 -8 -1 -2 3 0 0 0 2 1 0

Source GTN - updated 29-5-18

18 June 2018

Wesfarmers announced it had agreed to divest the Homebase business in the United Kingdom and Ireland to a company associated with Hilco Capital. Under the terms of the agreement, the buyer will acquire all Homebase assets, including the Homebase brand, its store network, freehold property, property leases and inventory for a nominal amount. The 24 Bunnings pilot stores will convert to the Homebase brand promptly following completion. Wesfarmers will participate in a value share mechanism whereby it would be entitled to 20 per cent of any equity distributions from the business. This obligation is not limited by time, allowing Wesfarmers to participate in any profitable divestment of the business in the long-term.

It has been a month of dramatic change in the garden centre industry with stores changing hands, and now the big announcement that the biggest group – Wyevale Garden Centres - is up for sale. Below we publish a table of the current TOP 10 Garden Centre Groups by number of outlets, with Wyevale at the very summit. So it won’t be long before there is a new league leader. Will it be Dobbies or will one of the groups below take over at the top?

Jun-18 Jun-16 Group 1 2 3 4 5 6 7= 7= 9 10

5

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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.


BESTSELLERS

Above: The Greatest Award winning idea at Burston, and right, the new product on sale at Perrywood in May.

Vitax recognises the power of GTN Bestsellers Congratulations to Vitax for spotting a great idea and turning it into garden product retailing reality. Just over a year ago GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer gave a presentation to GIMA members at their 2017 AGM Day Conference about memorable experiences seen during a year of GTN’s Greatest Awards Judging. Within that presentation was a photo of Burston’s award winning planteria team and their display of Clematis Feed out in the planteria covered in a pushchair rain shield to protect the cardboard boxes from the elements. Burston’s success in selling more Clematis Feed from the planteria was echoed by other plant teams across the country. At Fron Goch they told our awards judges they longed for more products that they could sell alongside the plants out in the planteria. In the audience at the GIMA meeting, Vitax’s Colin Weatherly-Mein and Ralph Fitter picked up on the idea and took it straight back to Vitax HQ to get started on a plan to bring plastic pouches of their Clematis Feed and other products to the market. A year later they had purchased a brandnew pouching machine and were busy setting it up with UV resistant pouching material ready for production and last month GTN paid a visit to Coleville to see it in operation. Now 18 months on, many garden centres are reporting huge success from sales of Vitax Clematis, Hydrangea and Rose Feeds plus Q4 pouches outside in their planterias whilst not detracting from sales in garden shop areas. Well done Vitax, no wonder they were Silver Award Winners in GTN’s Greatest Marketing Awards last year.

Above: The new machine in action, and right, Q4 pouched!

Colin Weatherly-Mein is presented with the Greatest Marketing Awards Silver Award by GTN’s Mandy Davies.

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June 2018 19


PLANTS

Plant sales drop by 2.2% but most popular plants grow by 1.7% Plant sales volumes dropped by 2.2% in the last 12 months, according to weekly EPOS sales data analysis carried out by GTN Bestsellers. The lack of plant sales in March and April 2018, caused by the snow, rain and very cold weather, has been made up with record sales in May, but not quite enough to take our aggregate even to parity with the previous 12 months. However, the Top 50 plant groupings did increase their sales over the period – by 1.7% – indicating that popular plants, looking good and merchandised well, can drive sales up even against an overall downward trend. Notable movements in the full year chart are: 4Tomato plant sales grew by 55% to move up 3 places to No 7. 4Sales of Bellis rocketed in the past 12 months to enter the Top 50 at No 17. 4Pepper plants climbed the most

20 June 2018

places up the chart, up 11 places to No 30. The plant groupings that dropped out of the GTN Bestsellers Top 50 this year were: Clematis, Lupinus, Anemone, Veronica and Azalea. Will Lupins make a come back in next year’s chart after being in the spotlight at Chelsea 2018? GTN Bestsellers analyses EPOS data from garden centres every week and groups plants together by genus or vegetable group to produce a weekly Bestselling Plants Chart together with Top 50 charts for Garden Products, Growing Media, Veg-2-Gro and Wild Bird Care. A year’s subscription to receive the weekly charts costs just £145. To subscribe please e-mail karen.pfeiffer@tgcmc.co.uk or buy online using the link in the GTN Xtra e-mail newsletter via www.gardentradenews.co.uk

The UK Garden Centre Plants Bestsellers Chart Year Ending Sunday 13th May 2018 This year

Last year

Plant genus

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

Pelargonium Primula Cyclamen Pansy Petunia Dianthus Tomato Fuchsia Begonia Viola Impatiens Osteospermum Erysimum Rose Lobelia Nemesia Bellis Narcissus Lavandula Dahlia Alyssum Bacopa Verbena Heuchera Lathyrus Orchidaceae Hedera Ericaceae Salvia Pepper Hebe Strawberry Calluna Hydrangea Poinsettia Antirrhinum Cosmos Cucumber Chrysanthemum Tagetes Helleborus Campanula Cineraria Hyacinth Bean Argyranthemum Calibrachoa Festuca Geranium Diascia

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Volume Sales Change Increase Increase Increase Increase Increase +50% Increase Increase

Increase

Highest New Entry Increase

Increase

Increase

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Highest Climber Increase Increase Increase

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Increase +50% Increase Increase +50% Increase

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New dates for PATS Sandown 2019 PATS Sandown - which celebrated its 10th show earlier this year - is entering an exciting new era with news that it will be moving to a new date in 2019. The two-day pet trade exhibition will now be held on Sunday, February 10th, and Monday, February 11th, again at Sandown Park, Surrey. The new dates mean that PATS Sandown will be the first major pet exhibition of the year and avoids the busy March show period. For the first time, PATS Sandown will be held on a Sunday and Monday, days of the week that have a proven track record of success for the Telford show. PATS Sandown organiser Gordon Thomas said: “We are delighted to announce brand new show dates for PATS Sandown in 2019.

“After extensive research amongst our buyers, we are altering the open days to a Sunday and Monday. This will offer PATS exhibitors a broader range of visitors and align Sandown with the Telford open days. “The new show dates will allow exhibitors to launch their new products to the trade at PATS Sandown, thereby making certain that retailers stock their products in time for consumers at Crufts. It will also avoid any clash with international shows. “The new show dates are just one of our exciting initiatives to continually refresh PATS, which is The UK’s pet retail show brand.” With PATS Telford on course for another successful show later this year (September 23rd24th), there are exciting times ahead for the UK’s number one pet trade event.

www.gardentradenews.co.uk

June 2018 21


PLANTS

Bursting with new plant ideas The garden centre industry will be heading to the HTA National Plant Show at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry in Warwickshire on June 19-20. The New Plant Area, which hosts the New Plant Awards, is the beating heart of the HTA National Plant Show and is bursting with ideas for new plants. The New Plant Awards, sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), showcase the best in new plant introductions from UK plant suppliers. Over the past eight years the Awards have grown in prestige and are now seen as the place to find the next bestselling plants for the garden centre. Categories for 2018 are: Annuals, Herbaceous Perennials, Houseplants,Trees and Conifers, Shrubs and Climbers. In addition to the formal announcement in the New Plant area, there will also be a seminar session focussing on the winners where some of our judging panel will highlight the victorious plants and give the background on their benefits and how these can bolster a planterea offering. Sponsored by Floramedia, the Visitor Vote Awards are a popular part of the show. With over 100 plants to vote for, visitors are spoilt for choice and often have a tough decision on their hands when deciding which they feel is their favourite plant. Whilst the focus at the HTA National Plant Show is clearly on plants themselves it also provides a fantastic platform for exhibitors to demonstrate innovative and inspiring displays that ultimately lead to increased plant sales. The event will also see the return of the Award for the Best Plant Concept for Retail. This will showcase creative packaging concepts that will help retailers sell more plants and not just focus on newer varieties. The show will be featuring once again The Planting the Seed Award – Visitor Vote, which highlights stand displays that capture the imagination, provide clear information and attract attention. They also offer a great example to visitors of how the plants can look if you were to create a display in store. These displays plant the seed of inspiration. The show will include rehydration stations around the halls offering ice cold water infused with zesty lemon slices and fresh mint, fruit stops where visitors can grab one of their five a day and the food on the go pod is the place to pick up a takeaway bowl of summery soup and a fresh bread roll. Even better, all of these are with compliments of the show to give you time to visit more of our amazing exhibitors.

22 June 2018

It will also include focused feature areas including the Inspirational Hortipak Hub, Retail Concept Experience, The Greenhouse café, HTA Village, and much more. The National Plant Show seminars provide an added extra to the show. With a focus on plants (goes without saying!) this year’s seminar sessions include Plant Health Update, trends and predictions in point of sale and merchandising and a highlight on recycling and environmental case studies. You can also take part in a series of workshops in the Nursery Supply Show led by our show sponsor ICL focussing on areas such as ‘The Key to healthy plants’, Pest and disease controls, printing trends and developments and business support. With feedback and interaction encouraged this will provide some key talking points from those across the industry. The Retail Concept Experience will create a stimulating retail experience for visitors filled with inspiring retail ideas for you to take away and will be supported by our headline partner Hortipak. Opening Times: Tuesday: 9am – 5pm Wednesday: 9am – 4pm www.nationalplantshow.co.uk

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June 2018 23


RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW REPORT

Mr Fothergills scoop show’s top product prize for unique Optigrow seed range The Optigrow seed range from Mr Fothergills, which uses unique new seed priming technology for faster germination, stronger growth and better harvests, was voted Best New Product at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The Optigrow range employs a ‘natural’ Swedish process previously only available on seeds for farmers and commercial growers. While chemical seed coatings are commonly seen in agriculture, Optigrow uses only water and air to prepare the seed for germination by breaking dormancy, then drying it again for storage and packeting. Treated seeds start to grow within hours of sowing. Mr Fothergill’s hailed the development as the most exciting for home gardeners since F1 hybrids – and the Chelsea judges, chaired by entrepreneur Deborah Meaden,appeared to agree. The company says extensive trialling under garden conditions has consistently produced more uniform crops, better harvests and quality vegetables, with evidence that germination becomes possible in colder, warmer and drier conditions than are considered ideal. In trials, almost 80% of Optigrow-treated ‘Amsterdam’ carrot seed germinated with 50 hours of sowing, compared to 90 for standard seed.

Deborah Meaden with David Turner and Ian Cross of Mr Fothergills Seeds. The winning Optigrow seeds range, in its distinctive packet livery, was offered on a limited selection of varieties this year.

Hydrangea impresses the plant judges Thompson & Morgan scooped the No 1 and No 3 Chelsea Plant of the Year Awards with Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride Snow White’ (left) and Helianthus annuus ‘Sunbelievable Brown Eyed Girl’ (right). Both were among the 27 new varieties displayed on Peter Seabrook’s ‘Container Revolution’ display for The Sun. In second place was Eryngium ‘Blue Waves’ entered by Hillier and displayed on the nursery’s Gold medal winning exhibit

GTN’s very own paparazzo – Robert Ducker of the Langlands garden centre group – went hunting for celebs on press day at Chelsea...

24 June 2018

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RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW REPORT

It’s Gold Medal No.73 for Hillier... Yet again, Hillier was able to celebrate extending its world-record for the most consecutive Gold Medals in the history of Chelsea. The most successful exhibitor that Chelsea has ever had increased its winning run to 73 Golds. This year’s medal was for the ‘Stihl Inspiration’ garden designed by Sarah Eberle. The garden was sponsored, for the first time, by garden tool brand STIHL as part of the deal that has seen the tools offered in Hillier garden centres this year. An added attraction on the exhibit was the appearance of 15-year-old in-demand art prodigy Kieron Williamson – nicknamed the ‘Mini Monet’ – who was commissioned by Hillier to paint a series of pieces portraying the garden to be auctioned later for the Wessex Cancer Trust. The first artwork Kieron sold at the age of six raised £14,000… The garden, more rustic in feel than Hilliers’ usual Chelsea creations and featuring striking corten-steel from The Pot Company, invites visitors to walk through its ‘pathway of inspiration’. New plants from Hillier are eagerly anticipated at Chelsea – and one of this year’s, Eryngium ‘Blue Waves’, took second place in the Chelsea’s Plant of the Year awards.

ABOVE: Kieron painting a scene on the Hillier garden at Chelsea. RIGHT: Eryngium ‘Blue Wave’ nestles between contrasting foliage plants. It’s a cross between Eryngium bourgatii and Eryngium alpinum, first cultivated in 2002 when the two plants, growing close to each other, yielded ‘Blue Wave’ among its seedlings. The intricate thistle-like blooms are a vibrant shade of amethyst, maturing to a vivid shade of blue. It is drought tolerant once established.

...and the first for hydrangea specialists Cook’s Garden Centre They were hoping for it...but never thought they’d do it. “Two sleepless nights while we wait for the medal,” tweeted Stourportbased Cook’s after adding the finishing touches to their Grand Pavilion exhibit. If they had known about the Gold the judges were soon to award them, the Cook’s team – that’s owner Paul Cook and his daughter Hannah in the picture – would surely have slept like babies!

More pix from GTN’s Chelsea paparazzo Robert Ducker

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26 June 2018

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RHS CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW REPORT

Daffodil king Johnny Walkers continues his Gold Medal habit Johnny Walkers put together his 25th Chelsea Gold Medal display of narcissi for Taylors Bulbs – and due to the weather it was one of the most challenging. Soon after the bulbs went into the glasshouse, temperatures of up to 35°C over the May Day bank holiday meant the flowers developed too quickly with weak stems, upward facing flowers and, in some cases, flowers that were not the colour nature intended. Johnny says he never rests on his laurels until the final judging. “We never expect a medal,” he said. “It is all down to nature...and hard work.”

Seabrook brainchild wins Silver-Gilt The Sun’s Container Revolution Garden in the Grand Pavilion – brainchild of garden writer and broadcaster Peter Seabrook - won a Silver Gilt. Focusing on the ease and maintenance of container gardening, the impressive display demonstrated how pots of show-stopping plants and foliage can brighten up an outdoor space. A wide range of Woodlodge pots made their home on the garden, as well as numerous household items and artifacts that can be pressed into use as containers. The exhibit used a wide range of flowers sourced by Peter and top growers, breeders, as well as plants grown by schoolchildren and colleges. The Sun’s exhibit was also home to the Chelsea Plant of the Year winner, Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride Snow White’ from Thompson and Morgan.

The good life ahead? Former ‘The Good Life’” star Felicity Kendall hand in hand with Terra Firma boss Guy Hands on the Burncoose stand at Chelsea, where he dropped hints about the announcement to be made later that day that he was putting the 145-outlet Wyevale Garden Centres business up for sale to close the investment fund. Wyevale has been performing well in recent months after periods of disappointment, so perhaps he has his eye on the goodf life, too.

HEADING UP Sponsors Bord na Móna Growise were quick to congratulate designers Francesca Murrell and John Everiss (left, with national sales manager Jason Pike and head of commercial Steve Harper, right) on their Silver Gilt medal for the Myeloma UK charity’s garden, which aimed to raise awareness about a form of treatable but as yet incurable blood cancer. The company donated its growing media for the garden, the centrepiece of which was a 12ft high sculpture assembled on site from layers of transparent blue acrylic.

And finally...Lupin-mania You could hardly move for lupins at Chelsea this year. This cottage garden favourite was absolutely everywhere in the show gardens and artisan gardens category. As we go to press a few days after the show closed, we’re anticipating a countrywide run on lupins at garden centres...

28 June 2018

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June 2018 29


VIEWPOINT

The role of larger suppliers in a diverse supply chain network VICKY NUTTALL DIRECTOR OF GIMA What a difference a few weeks make! In my last column back in April, the industry was feeling the effects of the inclement weather that had occurred in early Spring. But fast forward to May and we have been blessed with sunny weather at last, which has seen sales soar to a record high in just 10 weeks. In previous columns we have talked about distributors, and how smaller suppliers need to be given the chance to help boost and diversify the supply chain, but now I want to address larger suppliers and the vital role they play. Here we talk to some wellknown brands to find out more about how they view their role and the steps they are taking to strengthen the supply network. Peter Utting, CEO of Gardman explains: “As a larger supplier we can offer a one-stop shop to our customers. We don’t offer one brand, we offer many across a multitude of categories to meet different consumer and shopper needs. By selecting larger suppliers, customers can simplify their supply chain; taking in one delivery rather than multiple. They may also benefit from hitting minimum order quantities or improved terms that perhaps they wouldn’t meet with smaller, single brand, single category suppliers. “We at Gardman are in the process of conducting over 550 hours of research with c.1,500 consumers specifically to identify new wild bird care products and packaging solutions. Already this research has contributed to the development of over 100 new products ready to launch in August 2018. More vitally, this work will also provide retailers with much needed consumer segmentation – helping ensure customers select and

30 June 2018

Peter Utting (main picture) and Richard Pyrah (right).

merchandise products best matched to their shoppers needs. Such expansive consumer research would be hard to replicate across a multitude of smaller suppliers. Often Gardman is mistakenly referred to as one brand, but in reality, and in the consumer and shopper’s minds, we are Cole & Bright in lighting, Eden Bloom in artificial, Moulton Mill in tools, Grow It in propagation and Gardman in wild bird care… to name but a few. At Gardman we continue to do everything in our power to meet every one of our customers’ needs and we are never complacent about the important role we play in the

gardening industry.” Richard Pyrah, Sales Director of Kelkay, also agrees that the bigger players have their own part to play: “A diverse supply network has been a positive feature of the garden sector for many years but only the larger players are able to make the sizeable investments required to effectively create and service major growth categories. Kelkay’s unique merchandising approach has proven to significantly drive category growth and we now reach over 700 garden centres with our 26 sales people and 6 merchandisers. Our years of experience in the water features,

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decorative aggregate and paving categories means that we are well positioned to provide retailers with a fully integrated category approach. Smaller business simply don’t have the critical mass to be able to support the market on this scale. Larger suppliers are financed to hold levels of stock that help to buffer the peaks and troughs of demand in our highly seasonal and weather dependent market. In the past 12 months we’ve been able to maintain over 98% service levels against our target on over 400 SKUs. Our buying power also means that we are in the best position to offer strong retail margins and promotional opportunities to our customers. Entrepreneurial, start-up and small businesses are important and help to provide variety and drive innovation. Larger organisations like Kelkay are able to fund insight programmes and new product development. In the final analysis, it’s continuity and security of supply along with attractive margins and category support that protect and grow retail revenues.” 4GIMA is here to hear the thoughts and experiences of its members, and would also love to hear from non-members also. Please share your experiences by emailing info@gima.org.uk


GTN June 2018  
GTN June 2018  
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