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gtn NOVEMBER 2017

Stock up on this year’s Christmas Bestsellers

Advice and information for garden centre professionals


The Pied Piper of Melville Nicholas Marshall reveals his vision for Dobbies. Is there another garden centre in the pipeline? BRANDS FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE

THE TOP INTERVIEWS People in the news


PIED PIPER OF MELVILLE What makes working with Nicholas Marshall, CEO of Dobbies, so attractive? GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer travelled to Dobbies at Melville, near Edinburgh, to find out. Within months of his arrival at Dobbies Garden Centres earlier this year Nicholas Marshall had put together a team full of former colleagues – so much so, attending a Dobbies gathering was like a Wyevale Reunion. There was Marcus Eyles, Andrew West and Dale Lewis, who all started out at Wyevale Beaconsfield; Pippa Hawkins, who had grown from the tills at Wyevale Worthing to Head of Training; and all overseen by Chief Operating Officer, Lorrie Robertson. Nicholas just picked up the phone and they – plus others – travelled North to join him. “The theme here before I arrived was a pound shop. Actually it was worse than that – they had some things that cynical retailers would sell. In the DIY industry they go to China, they buy cheap products, bring it over here, put it at a price which is ridiculous and then they half-price it and people say what a

Nicholas Marshall’s passion is plants.

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good bargain, and it isn’t. “Do we like garish, no. Lorrie Robertson is the brand guardian, the person who ensures that everything matches. It’s a bit like John Lewis. You don’t come across products in John Lewis where you think, what’s that doing there? It’s all designed for their customers. We are the same, that’s what we want to do. “What we had was 65% not very good, 25% okay and 10% good. We’ve turned it around so actually the 50% is in the middle with 25% really good and 25% of the cheaper variety. It’s not that huge a thing on the spectrum, it’s just moving it around. “One of the first things I did when I walked into Dobbies was to go into a sale. Everyone thought I was screwy, but I knew we had to get rid of a huge amount of tat in stock. Today we are selling more than we did last year with £9m less stock – that is now cash in the bank. “I’ve also cleared out all the warehouses and that space is being turned into concessions. Instead of having £9m of stock that wasn’t selling I’ve now got thousands of square feet available. That is quite a big change and it’s all part of our three-year plan. “The plan – the same as I instigated at Wyevale – is that a third of EBITDA should come from restaurants, a third from concessions and a third from the garden centre, which means we’ve weather-proofed the business. Before I get out of bed in the morning I’ve made the concession income


and even if the weather is not very good people will still go into the restaurant. And then we’ve got the garden centre business where we can make hay while the sun shines.” A trademark of the Nicholas Marshall way of garden centre retailing has been entrances that come directly into the planteria. That will continue under his Dobbies leadership. “We’re going to put a polytunnel between the restaurant and the side of the planteria to create an entrance from the biggest part of the car park here at Mellville on the A7. If you don’t know where your customers walk you don’t know where to put anything. Dobbies never thought about where people walk so here they come in from everywhere and I want them to come in just one way.” “It’s a really exciting design. We’ve got the planning now and I can’t wait until January when we get started. They will walk past the garden to the restaurant, through to the planteria where their choice is straight ahead for plants or to the restaurant and farm shop. “We are adding a table service restaurant which will only be doing food from the farm shop. The butcher in the farm shop each week will have a ‘special’, which will also be on the restaurant menu. Loch Fyne will be doing all the seafood. This will be the place to come out to lunch. “All our ambient food products will be locally sourced. Every centre is now on

“I’m very keen that garden centres should be all about plants first and that we should buy from local nurseries” notice to find local food producers. We are also mixing in food award winners. It’s all the things you cannot buy in a supermarket. Everything will have provenance. We’re going to be saying to our customers – it’s all British, so next time you go to a restaurant ask them, is this British? If it isn’t come to Dobbies instead.” Catering and customer flow may excite Nicholas, but his passion is plants. Out in the planteria he engages directly with customers. “I’m very keen that garden centres should be about plants first, and that we should buy from local nurseries. I’ve told growers from Scotland that they’ve got to step up to the plate, they have a good opportunity with Brexit. There was a time when to buy British was what you did.” Asked if there was a danger in the instant gratification retailing of plants getting out of hand, Nicholas replied: “No, there is no danger in instant gardening, it is where it is, but we can encourage people to do things. I think on-line we will do more. Click and collect will be huge, people still want to have the experience of coming to the store, use the restaurant and combine it, just as John Lewis have been using Waitrose as part of the business. But you still want to be inspired, have a coffee and a cake and pick up what you’ve ordered. “At Dobbies, Autumn had almost disappeared, they got into Christmas in July. We had an Autumn event last week in all our garden centres and we were packed. It was a huge success – a bigger event than the Dobbies Christmas Event.” Christmas 2017 will be a step change for Dobbies. “I got up here and on day three was asked to look at Christmas for 2017. I walked in, walked out and rang Lorrie and asked her to come up straight away to sort out Christmas. She worked with Craig Roman, another ex-Wyevaler, and said no to about 70% of it. She then asked Craig to bring in

Christmas at Dobbies is all about style this year.

samples ‘you know I’ll like’ and Christmas was chosen by them in two days.” Dobbies will be running grottos in all 34 stores this Christmas where children will follow the ‘Magic Hare’ to Santa and make an oath to the angels of love, joy, hope and peace. “It’s a huge part of Christmas, it’s about children!” With all that clarity and experience no wonder people felt safe in moving. The pied piper has also helped existing “Dobbieites” to see the light and buy into the vision. “I asked the marketing team to dig out all the analytics that had gone on and it said we’d lost all our AB customers and that people were no longer doing plants. I said so that’s where we are starting and that’s where we are taking it back. We were on the same side, all wanting to go in the same direction.” Nicholas has been quick to make the most of the Dobbies heritage which links to his own horticultural roots. An exhibition to celebrate the 200th anniversary of James Dobbie, put together by the merchandising team, was saved by one of the young employees at Dobbies, Scott Proven. “He was told that it was going to be skipped, so he hid it in the attics of the building and then told us about it later when we arrived. I’m very grateful to him for keeping it and once it’s finished at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh it is going to go on tour around all our garden centres because we are very proud of our past and hopefully will be just as proud of our future.” Behind all of this sits Dobbies’ new owners Midlothian Capital Partners and Chairman Andrew Bracey. They clearly have aspirations and pockets deep enough to fund the transfer market and will be starting to see a return on their investment this Autumn. No wonder there are mentions from Nicholas of another garden centre ‘in the pipeline’. How long will it be before even more Wyevale staff are working for Nicholas at Dobbies? After a morning spent with him it’s clear he is watching every move that Terra Firma and the existing Wyevale management team make. Will we see the Scots launch a raid on Syon Park in the new year? “I love the offices at Syon Park,” he said. “They look out over the plant area and it’s a grade 1 listed building.” That sounds like home from home for a man who ‘escaped’ from buying Homebase only to be his own gamekeeper for a year prior to the invitation from Dobbies. Pied piper, plant enthusiast, retail doyen. Whichever label you chose for Nicholas Marshall, the UK garden centre industry is more colourful with him back on the scene.


EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING Garden Trade News, The Old School, 4 Crowland Road, Eye, Peterborough PE6 7TN Tel 01733 775700 Fax 01733 775838 gardentradenews@tgcmc.co.uk www.gardentradenews.co.uk THE GTN TEAM Editor: Neil Pope neil.pope@tgcmc.co.uk Associate Editor: Mike Wyatt mike.wyatt@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 2017. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form whatsoever, either for sale or not, without the express permission of the publishers. The information contained in this publication is published in good faith and every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy. 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.

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Get ready for Christmas in style

Discover an amazing collection of luxury artificial Christmas Trees, wreaths and garlands now in stock at Norfolk Leisure. National Tree Company joined forces with the team from Norfolk Leisure to ensure that their finely crafted trees and decorations are available more widely and with a better service experience. As the leading supplier of artificial Christmas trees, National Tree Company offers the most advanced technologies on an extensive range of high quality items. You may be familiar with some of their more well-known innovations including Feel Real® PE branch tips that are so realistic in appearance and to the touch, it is very difficult to tell the difference between Feel Real® trees and their living twins. National Tree also pioneered the multifunction Dual Color ® LED light strings that allow for up to nine different light options including steady warm white, steady multicolor, warm white fades into multi-color, fading, and flashing, providing consumers with the option to change the color and function of their tree with just a touch of the foot pedal. Pair them with our Memory Wire ™ trees that arrive to customers perfectly shaped and do not require any fuss, and you will have the most advanced selection of artificial Christmas trees available on the market! One, Two, Tree! Some are so finely crafted you may wonder whether you actually need to decorate. “But you can get an old fashioned tinsel tree here too if that’s what you fancy,” says Managing Director Nick Anderson. National Tree Company has exhibited at Harrogate for over 20 years but previously had only offered the leading brand in direct containers with FOB pricing.Norfolk Leisure offer the catalogue ex warehouse with the added bonus of full back up and support from the Norfolk based team. According to Director Debbie Waudby: “National Tree Company are at the top of their game for artificial trees and decorations and it is exciting to see the new designs and innovations coming through each season. “Sometimes you do wonder if they can actually improve them much more or come

up with many more new ideas but they always do! “It is a real pleasure to work with a business that has such a long history and like us very strong family orientation and Christmas side of our business is growing too as more people reconise the brand and renowned quality and how easily they can now access the range.” Some designs will always hit the right spot. This can be seen in the Glittery collections where there are trees in every size from 2ft

Norfolk Leisure also stock an extensive range of the Fibreglass ornaments, including a lifesize Santa. Many of these have LED lights and music options. The musical and mechanical drummer boy will play his drum to your favourite Christmas tunes.

to 9ft, and matching accessories including all shapes of wreaths, table decorations, garlands, snowflakes, kissing balls, majestic arches – enough to make a beautiful and special fully co-ordinated Christmas display. Norfolk Leisure can deliver any quantity and any combination of products, there is no minimum order quantity. Just request a full stock list. Norfolk Leisure Lifestyle Limited Garage Lane, Setchey, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE33 0AX. W:Norfolkleisure.com T:01553 811717 E: Christmas@norfolkleisure.co.uk

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Top tips from the Greatest! GTN presented their Greatest Garden Centre Awards after dinner at the HTA Garden Futures conference last month. The judges reveal some great ideas that caught their eye. Gold Awards for Garden Centre Team of the Year went to Perrywood and Castle Gardens; the Garden Care Team of the Year Gold Award was won by Aylett Nurseries; Smart Garden Products were voted as The Greatest Garden Products Supplier of the Year by all of the centres we visited during the spring and summer; and the GCA Grow training scheme won Gold for The Greatest Training Initiative of the Year. Commenting on the winners, GTN’s Trevor Pfeiffer, who presented the awards with BBC TV journalist and Countryfile presenter Tom Heap, said: “The winners were the teams who best used great teamwork to achieve excellent retailing, not just in one part of the centre but across all departments from shop front to planteria and from restaurant to garden furniture sales.”

Communication is the key to great teamwork and at Castle Gardens they have been practising perfect team communication for years. Twice a day they all gather outside in the planteria for tea break. Simple but very effective, everyone gets a chance to update colleagues and most importantly it keeps plants at the heart of everything.

At Fron Goch, great customer service pervades the whole garden centre with the catering team setting the standards with multiple award winning team work. As the

last line of the 10 years of poem (right) reads “always wishing, life enriching.” Now that is a great customer service goal every garden centre team could strive for.

GTN’s Greatest Teams of the Year: Presented at the HTA Futures Conference The Greatest Garden Centre Team of the Year Bronze Award: Millbrook Gravesend Silver Award: Fron Goch Gold Award: Perrywood and Castle Gardens The Greatest Garden Care Retail Team of the Year Bronze Award: Blue Diamond Group Silver Award: Altons Gold Award: Aylett Nurseries

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The Greatest Garden Centre Customer Service Team of the Year Bronze Award: Planters Tamworth Silver Award: Chessington Gold Award: Fron Goch

The Greatest Garden Centre Merchandising Team of the Year Bronze Award: Barton Grange Silver Award: Millbrook Gravesend Gold Award: Perrywood

The Greatest Garden Centre Training Team or Initiative of the Year Gold Award: GCA Grow

The Greatest Garden Products Supplier of the Year Gold Award: Smart Garden Products



Above: The ‘Holiday at Home’ theme was a great summer idea at Perrywood and was well executed around the centre, right from the car park through to houseplants. With houseplants ‘on trend’ this year seeing other garden centre products, including furniture and soft furnishing, merchandised alongside houseplants was a great move. Left: Hang it and sell it. Perrywood’s merchandising team really made the most of space above displays to maximise sales by getting products at eye level. Below: When great teamwork pervades across a large team it’s no surprise it gets recognised and wins awards. Perrywood now have a Greatest Awards Team Gold to add to their many Garden Centre Association awards this year.

Above: Product knowledge is everything when it comes to great garden centre retailing and at Ayletts they not only know loads about each product they also have either used the products themselves or have stories about how other customers have used them. That means every product sold really gets an ‘Ayletts recommends’ stamp of approval.

Below and right: They didn’t win a Garden Care Team award this year but this great Ant product display at Planters Tamworth caught the eye of the judges.


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New styles and materials will be added throughout 2018 and 2019. Further design themes are already being considered by the Pot Company in association with English Heritage, and will again be inspired by site specific features. As with the entire Pot Company range, planters can be ordered individually or in nested sets and pallet combinations. Good margins are on offer to the end retailer and increase with volumes purchased. Merchandising solutions are also available, including point of sale marketing material. About the Pot Company The Pot Company have over 30 years’ experience in supplying garden industry professionals. With over 30 ranges to choose from, The Pot Company give customers the flexibility to order whatever they want and only what they need. Ranges include contemporary, rustic and traditional styles from value lines to high end items. The Pot Company stock over 250,000 pots at their warehouse in the Kent countryside and have established a rapid fulfilment delivery network.

Inspired by history The Pot Company range is expanding even further. From 2018 they will be offering The Heritage Collection – a unique selection of high end planters developed in association with English Heritage, the high-profile charity who care for over 400 historic sites, buildings and monuments. The Heritage Collection is inspired by history. Each planter incorporates a period design feature found at an English Heritage property, such as the Tudor Rose motifs on fireplaces at Dover Castle in Kent and

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detailing on statues at the gardens in Wrest Park in Bedfordshire. Initially, models will be available in Terracini and Clayfibre. Whilst both are hardwearing and frost resistant materials, they offer very different looks – Terracini is a harder wearing variety of Terracotta whilst the eco-friendly Clayfibre provides an authentic, faux lead finish. A variety of sizes and shapes will be available, from a 27cm classic box to a tall 80cm square.


About English Heritage English Heritage cares for over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites - from worldfamous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of the empire to a Cold War bunker. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million people each year.

For more information please contact Katie Weller on Katie@thepotco.com or 01892 890 353.



Career Moves

Managing Director, Smart Garden Products

How would you sum up what’s happened to Smart Garden in the past couple of years? Our business has doubled in size over the past two years, through a combination of adding new product categories, achieving enlarged listings with existing customers and attracting new customers. At the same time, we have modified and improved our structure and process almost beyond recognition, along with adding key new personnel, so as a result we are a much more efficient and effective business.

impressing with great products and service year on year.

How does the company manage to come up with so many ‘Eureka’ moments? We are very focussed on product innovation, which has always been a core strength of this business whether as Smart Solar or Smart Garden. We also have a wealth of experience across many core product groups. For example, I have been in the solar business for over 20 years and many of my colleagues have substantive experience in the various other product categories in which we’re active. This, along with a proactive approach to monitoring market trends in both the gardening and other product sectors, and of course a heavy dose of inspiration, has to-date enabled us to generate a steady flow of exciting new product ideas…or indeed, ‘Eureka’ moments!

What’s the secret of your success? That’s classified..!

How will your new Peterborough centre help to service the trade? It will be a great help by not only having a state-of-the-art warehousing facility but also having all of our stock housed in one location. With new showrooms also available in the Spring at Peterborough, this will also give more choice and convenience to our customers in the North and Midlands.

What’s the ultimate goal for the company? When Paris Natar bought Smart Solar we created a five-year business plan, which we in fact achieved in four years. We’re now in the process of planning our next five-year cycle but our ultimate goal is to reach £100m in annual sales. Watch this space! To find out more about Smart Garden’s market leading product offering visit www.sgpuk.com

How far do you plan ahead for new launches? We’re mainly working on products for launch nine to 12 months ahead. We generate a significant number of product ideas, many of which don’t make the final cut, or can be revisited for consideration a year later. In addition to our core ranges, we also develop a considerable quantity of custom products for specific customers. It must be pleasing to keep winning industry awards for product innovation and customer service? It’s very flattering and rewarding, in equal measure. To be recognised by one’s customers for essentially doing a really good job is a great feeling, and is a result of a tremendous team effort and hard work. At the same time, we are our own biggest critic and we aim to keep on improving and

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Jonathan with Sales Director Paul Knott receiving GTN’s Greatest Garden Products Supplier Award.


Caroline Holford has joined Smart Garden Products as Trade Marketing Manager. Caroline brings a wealth of trade marketing experience, having spent several years working with Dexam, Canon, HoMedics and Bic, among others. On joining a new industry, Caroline says: “I am looking forward to transferring my extensive marketing experience in housewares, licensing and FMCG to the gardening sector.”

Steve Guy has rejoined Kingfisher as head of sales for outdoor categories, having worked at the company’s subsidiary B&Q from 1999 to 2013, where he rose from assistant buyer to category trading manager. He left B&Q to join Dobbies as head of buying for horticulture and garden, becoming a director in 2015, before leaving earlier this year when Nicholas Marshall took over as CEO.

Chairman Edward Way has retired from Fordingbridge plc. In asking Edward what’s the biggest change he’s seen during his 40-plus years career, he said: “It is one in which we would design a structure for a customer, build it and get paid all on a handshake rather than an interminable contract!”


Supercharged CPL Distribution and its ground-breaking new range of Next Generation Biomass Fuels has created lots of interest at recent trade shows. GTN takes a closer look at this highly successful business. CPL is the UK’s largest manufacturer of solid fuel and has been developing and manufacturing smokeless solid fuels since the 1950s. The company’s success has been built on a relentless focus on new product development driven by the recognition of consumers’ desire for high performance fuels that have a reduced environmental impact. This has seen CPL develop the next generation of smokeless solid fuels that are significantly better for the environment than traditional house coal with lower sulphur, carbon dioxide and smoke particulate emissions. CPL’s latest high performance product is Homefire Supercharged Heat Logs – a superior fuel to all other heat logs and kiln dried firewood with higher temperatures, greatly improved heat output and longer fire life. Designed primarily for the conscientious burner, these logs will keep your customers warm this winter as well as saving them money. The high performing, eco-friendly logs offer the look and feel of burning firewood, with an enhanced heating performance much more like coal. They’re also versatile and suitable for use on open fires, multi-fuel stoves, wood burners and chimeneas. Just take a look at some of the benefits:

For more information: Tel: 01623 860228 commercialteam@cpldistribution.co.uk www.cpldistribution.co.uk

How has CPL supercharged its logs? To produce supercharged fuel, CPL uses a clean, well established industrial process called Torrefaction, which involves heating wood chip in the absence of oxygen at temperatures typically between 200 and 320C. This process drives off moisture and impurities from the wood to produce a very dry product, which has a lot more energy and calorific value than the original wood chip. Homefire Supercharged Heat Logs produce less smoke when burnt compared to seasoned wood and wet wood meaning they are better for the environment too. In fact, you may have seen the subject of the UK’s air pollution problems and smoke emissions making national headlines this year. With this in mind, CPL continues to develop eco-friendly, high quality solid fuels and the company has recently been accredited to Woodsure Ready to Burn Scheme. So any CPL products with the orange Ready to Burn logo means they’re dried to less than 20% moisture content and therefore produce a far superior heat and less smoke emissions than seasoned or wet wood. Homefire Supercharged Heat Logs are one of our key waste management products and one of the first to be launched from CPL’s family of Next Generation Biomass Fuels. This product is not available on the High Street and is a great opportunity for independent garden centres to maximise their margins and move away from stocking seasoned wood or wet wood.

4Ready to Burn 425% more heat than kiln dried logs 4Lasts longer than kiln dried logs 4Water repellent 4Easy to break, clean burning logs 4Great flame picture 4Shrink-wrapped in packs of five 4100% Renewable 4Result of extensive research by CPL


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SHOP 2018

Chemical-free lawn treatments gain RHS endorsement

Products, ideas and merchandising that have been catching the eye pre-season.

Seamless upgrade from Burgon & Ball

RHS endorsement is a powerful brand booster, so prospects are promising for DJ Turfcare’s chemical-free lawn fertiliser products, which will carry the society’s badging on new packaging for the new season. MO Bacter, Bio-Lime and Recovery from Belgian lawn care experts Viano, and distributed in the UK by DJ Turfcare, is the first lawn care range of its type to receive RHS endorsement. DJ Turfcare MD David Jenkins said: ”The RHS is a highly regarded and recognisable body, and will offer consumers peace of mind when buying products that are endorsed by them, ultimately boosting sales.” MO Bacter is an organic-based slow release fertiliser for lawns, which destroys moss as a secondary action. Bio-Lime raises soil pH to make it less favourable to moss growth. Recovery is an organic fertiliser and plant stimulant to toughen up the lawn Information: djturfcare.co.uk OR T: 01483 200976.

Spotted the differences yet between the new Garden Supplies collection from Burgon & Ball and its popular predecessor, Enamelwares? It’s all in the detail. The smooth rounded edges on the new designs, enabled by moulding the steel for a seam-free finish, add a tactile appeal and a premium, contemporary look. Features include handles in FSC beech or leather, and FSC beech lids, to tap into the trend for natural materials around the home. Five on-trend colours have been selected to appeal to men and women, with stylish graphics and contemporary typography. The new range includes a seed packet storage tin, a garden caddy, herb pots in a tray, a bird food storage tin, a twine dispenser, money boxes and more. And to reflect the trend towards more utilitarian storage, there’s a peg-board to keep essentials safely to hand in the shed, garage or home office. The gift potential across the range is huge. Information: burgonandball.com OR T: 01202 684141

Briers stress commitment to quality The Briers team (left) was keen to display its commitment to quality and how that has stepped up even further in the past 12 months as it launched eight new ranges at Glee. Designer Julie Dodsworth was there to help showcase an expanded kids range, together with a new licensed range, Pantone. Briers is unique in its sector as the only garden clothing manufacturer to employ a dedicated compliance director. At key points of the sourcing and

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manufacturing process, this role ensures products meet the standards set by the worldwide organisations to which Briers now belongs, including SEDEX, FSC, BLC, SATRA and FIRA. New products this year also included a new country fashion inspired Sandley range, Bamboo gloves, Premium Leather and Flex and Protect gloves, as well as brand new kids garden products. Information: briersltd.co.uk or T: 01963 269077


EGO show the way to cordless future Cordless is the future for domestic garden machinery – and EGO Power+ are leading the way. The company uses ground-breaking Arc-Lithium 56v battery technology in machines that can rival the power and performance of petrol equivalents, without the noise, fumes or discomfort from vibrations. EGO’s intelligent battery offers the industry’s highest energy capacity and uses ‘Keep Cool’ cell technology. A 2.0ah battery costs SRP £85 and standard charger is £50. More powerful versions range from 4.0ah to 7.5ah and a 30-minute charger is available. New EGO blowers are the first battery powered models to deliver petrol matching power. The top-of-the-range LB5750E blower (SRP £169 excluding battery and charger) features jet turbine technology and highefficiency brushless motor in a lightweight, compact design. Information: egopowerplus.co.uk

Elho step out onto the balcony... It wasn’t hard to see why Elho’s Green Basics Flower Bridge Grow House won a New Product Award and a Consumers Choice Award at Glee this year. It meets a market need for a grow-your-own product that can be used by anyone with a balcony – great for opening up the urban gardening market. The Flower Bridge fits quickly and easily over any balcony railing. Practical grips ensure it can’t blow away and rotary ventilation sliders help to regulate temperature and airflow. A specially developed sun filter helps protect plants, seedlings and cuttings from scorching. There’s a choice of colours: leaf green, living

black, cotton white, mild terra, cherry and lime green. SRP £19.99 Information: elho.com OR call David Nicholson T: 07910 212155

Hozelock’s (almost) instant aquarium Hozelock’s new Aquarium is the no-fuss way easy to acquire a pleasurable fishkeeping habit. It’s easy to assemble assemble, with no tools, expertise or digging required. The above-ground format, featuring side viewing windows, can be easily installed in a rented property or on a roof terrace. SRP £249.99. Hozelock’s new Multipurpose LED Light (£39.99) to illuminate it would make an ideal linked sale. Information: hozelock.com

Birdlife in close-up... The new Dewdrop Window Feeder from Wildlife World won Glee’s best new wildlife product award. It promises to be an easy impulse pick-up in-store. It’s transparent design allows a close-up view of small birds eating out of the box. The clear moulded Perspex is easy to secure to the window with two heavy suction pads, and it’s waterproof with just a small circular entrance, sheltering food from poor weather. Glee visitors also got the first look at Wildlife World’s exclusive range for the National Trust. Information: wildlifeworld.co.uk OR T:01666 505333


Bamboo gloves for sensitive hands For consumers with sensitive skins, even a gardening glove can be a source of irritation, but gloves made from natural bamboo fabric provide an ideal solution. Part of Town & Country’s core range for years, Bamboo Gloves provide functionality and dexterity, with an exterior latex coating for protection and grip and a fitted wrist to aid comfort – but surely a big selling point is that it features one of the most hypoallergenic fabrics available. Colour options include purple and teal. SRP £5.99. Information: townandco.com

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Knitting nostalgia? Try these quirky pots from Stewart

Neudorff’s nematodes are UK retail first Neudorff made a big impact at Glee with the launch of a range of nematodes that do not require refrigeration and can therefore be more easily accommodated as a retail line. The range earned a deserved New Product Award. Targeting troublesome leatherjackets, chafer grubs and vine weevils, which can cause destruction to lawns and ornamental plants, the range can be stored on shelves for up to six months. This is a first for the UK, where they have previously been available only online or by mail order. Predatory nematodes – small worms that have adapted to live in almost every ecosystem in the world – enter the pest’s body, release bacteria that poison its blood, then feed on the host’s tissue. Neudorff nematodes come in compact ‘globe’ packaging in individual soluble bio-pouches (SRPs from £14.99 to £29.99), which can be added directly to water and applied using a watering can, sprayer or the new hose-end NemaSprayer (SRP £13.99). Children and pets can enter treated areas immediately after application. Packs carry a use-by date. Neudorff’s UK sales director Jude Beharall, sales director for said: “Being 100% natural it complements our product

offering perfectly and also provides great benefits to garden centres, which can now stock nematodes directly on the shelf without refrigeration, making this type of pest control more accessible to their customers.” Information: neudorff-trade.co.uk OR T: 0121 767 1821.

Kelkay launch Portfolio ceramic paving The new Portfolio range of porcelain paving was a true eye-catcher on the Kelkay stand at Glee. Easy-to-shop presentation should ensure this beautiful, strong and versatile material will attract attention in-store. Kelkay has been working on the value end of its offer too. The Landscape Project, also on show at Glee, brought together new garden features and vital accessories into

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Buyers searching for something distinctive in the pots and planters category had to look no further than Stewart Garden’s new Knit Collection. In a range of muted modern colours, it features a quirky pattern inspired by the art and nostalgia of knitted textiles. The planters, in 28cm and 36cm diameters (SRPs £14.99 and £16.99) have removable liners for easy planting and a drainage plug for indoor or outdoor use. Both sizes are also available as hanging planters (£16.99 and £21.99). There is also a set of three smaller planters (£12.99) suitable as pot covers or for indoor planting.

a new value-driving opportunity for hard landscape departments. The RHS gardener’s collection has been one of Kelkay’s notable success stories and the merchandising and POS for the range has been updated for 2018. They have also added an RHS-endorsed range of Endangered Wildlife Stepping Stones. Information: kelkay.co.uk


Stewart says it will benefit from significant new technical expertise and resources following its merger with Keter earlier this year. Information: stewart-garden.co.uk

Scissors that cut it We like the look of the new ranges of scissors from Wilkinson Sword that will hit the shelves this autumn. Cookshop buyers will appreciate the focus on kitchen and cooking, as the four ranges each contain an ‘all purpose’ version and a ‘kitchen’ scissor: Everyday – SRP £7.99; Classic - £12.99; PRO-Blade- £14.99; and X-Blade - £16.99 Everyday scissors have stainless steel blades and soft feel grips. Classic Scissors benefit from traditionally contoured handles, while PROBlade® features superior stainless steel blades for lasting performance. The X-Blade has high carbon steel non-stick blades. Info: wilkinsonsword-tools.co.uk


November 2017 15


Festive bestsellers

Some of this Christmas’s fastest selling pick-up lines across UK garden centres Taken from the GTN Bestsellers Christmas Products Chart Top 50

16 November 2017



Artificial trees that stand out from the crowd Norfolk Leisure offers an impressive collection of artificial Christmas trees and accessories from US-based National Tree Company. Renowned for innovation and leading the way in Christmas technologies, National Tree Company has an extensive range of trees with Feel Real® tips that give the trees and greenery a realism that best mirrors nature’s designs. Norfolk Leisure offers an unEvery year sees more advances in Christmas tree designs and matched collection of artificial technologies, including pre lit trees with hundreds of LED low voltage Christmas trees and accessories lights, energy efficient and long lasting. Memory Shape® products have specially designed branches that are from US based National Tree Compre-shaped and almost eliminate the need for branch reshaping by the pany. customer each year. Renowned for innovation and leading the The Powerconnect™ system technologies National Treefeatures an electric connection that router to opposite page way in Christmasthrough therange poles and no longer requires wiring connections between the Company has an extensive of trees TOP: Festive Productions Animated with Feel Real ® tree tips sections. that give the trees and with all Christmas products, there are annual trends in colours, Walking Dog; Gisela Graham Ceramicgreenery a realism As that best mirrors nature’s shapes and innovationa but the sales growth is in lifelike pre-lit trees, designs. Deer Decoration where you actually have Every year sees more advances in to touch the tree to know that it is not real and the lights aretechnologies perfectly placed on every branch. Christmas tree designs and CENTRE: History & Heraldry Santa Forwith example, there are Tastefully pre-decorated trees like the Glittery including pre lit trees hundreds of LED Paws Glass Baubles; Premier low voltage lights, energy andoflong Bristle withefficient thousands sparking gems and a full variety of perfectly Decorations Christmas Lantern Water lasting. Memory Shape® with matching products items for coordinated decorating. Trees with cones and berries Spinner; Hometown World Santa’s specially designed branches that arethey pre-are spoilt by adding baubles. that are so beautiful, Secret Elf Personalised Books shaped and almostNorfolk eliminate the need Leisure carriesfor an extensive stock of Christmas lines, all branch reshapingavailable by the customer each year. from the Norfolk warehouse with immediate delivery. Powerconnect ™ Information: system where the electric BOTTOM: Kaemingk Lilac Rose Clip-on; norfolkleisure.co.uk poles and no email :the chistmas@norfolkleisure.co.uk RSW Pass the Parcel Brussel Sprout;connection is through


longer requires wiring connections between the tree sections.(Main picture: National Tree Company/Norfolk Leisure) As with all Christmas products there are annual trends in colours, shapes and new innovation but the growth is in lifelike pre lit trees, where you actually have to touch the GTN Bestsellers is compiled every tree to know that it is not real and the lights week from EpoS data supplied by UKare perfectly placed on every branch. garden centres and is used to create Tastefully pre-decorated trees like the Top 50 charts for Plants, Garden Glittery Bristle with thousands of sparking Products, Growing Media, Grow your Own products and Christmas gems and full variety of perfectly matching products (October-December). The items for coordinated decorating. Trees with data is available only to subscribers.cones and berries that are so beautiful they are spoilt by adding baubles. Find out how to subscribe by emailing Trevor Pfeiffer Norfolk Leisure carries an extensive stock (trevor.pfeiffer@tgcmc.co.uk) of Christmas lines, all available from the Norfolk warehouse with immediate delivery. www.norfolkleisure.co.uk email : chistmas@norfolkleisure.co.uk

Suki Personalised Angel Ornament


November 2017 17


Xylella: averting catastrophe The potentially catastrophic consequences for the UK’s horticultural industry of an outbreak of the bacterial plant disease Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) were spelled out in a stark warning to growers and retailers at last month’s HTA Futures Conference. During a panel debate, Hillview Garden Centres CEO Boyd Douglas-Davies described it as the most serious situation he had come across in his 32 years in the industry. It was a wake-up call that had resulted in his businesses starting to take plant health more seriously. The disease has already devastated horticulture in southern Italy and has spread to Corsica, southern France and Spain. There is no known control and severely affected plants can die within three years. Thousands of plants on those regions have already been destroyed. In the event of an outbreak in the UK, an exclusion zone of 10km would be imposed for five years. It has been likened to “foot and mouth” in horticulture, affecting growers, retailers and consumers alike. Dan Munro from the UK’s Animal and Plant Healthy Agency said the disease was sure to spread and spread, with new cold-hardy strains posing a threat to the UK should it reach our shores. It could even be brought in on the boot of a tourist.

Douglas-Davies urged the industry not to wait for official action or it could be too late. “We have to act now as individual companies and be far ahead of the industry as a whole, which can only keep up with the slowest member. There is no time to wait for official bodies to do their bit,” he said. The HTA’s Raoul Curtis-Machin urged British growers to consider growing more of their own material to ensure bio-security.

How Italian nursery industry is responding Dr Stefano Sogni of Zelari (whose UK subsidiary is Essex-based Classiflora Zelari) reveals how Italian nurserymen are successfully tackling xylella. “The disease is not new to the professional: it has been the acknowledged agent of Grapes Pierce Disease (PGD), known in California since the early 19th century. “Sensitivity to low temperatures (with most of the host plants being frost sensitive too, but not all) is thought to be the most likely reason why it appears to be confined so far to specific areas. although this is still under investigation. In Italy, it is confined to a specific area of 8,000ha in Salento, Apulia, even six years after the outbreak. “Professionals in Italy (Zelari amongst them) have been aware of the disease since the early stages of the outbreak in 2011, even before it became more widely known. All

The panel discussion on Xylella fastidiosa at last month’s HTA Futures Conference.

18 November 2017

plants hit by Xylella have been immediately destroyed. And moving host plants from Salento is totally, and I emphasise totally, forbidden. The rest of Italy is certified by our Ministry of Food, Agricultural and Forestry as Xylella-free. “As professionals, we take a very responsible approach to the environment and our industry: in Tuscany, we have 90,000ha of olives and we are worldrenowned winemakers, so we cannot afford the to see Xylella spread. In Pistoia, one of the hearts of nursery activity in Europe, plant businesses feed 5,000 families. An outbreak would completely kill trade and have dramatic microeconomy consequences. We are taking the maximum possible care.” “ARPAT, the government regional phytosanitary authority for Tuscany, has been running routine random inspections since 2014. In 2016 they did 1204 inspections, visiting 516 nurseries, including Zelari on several occasions. They also inspected 301 olive crops and 387 landscaping sites and public gardens. They collected 3,633 samples of 54 plant varieties plus 649 samples of vector insects. In 4,312 samples, there was no trace of infection. “Most nurseries, like ourselves, also run their own regular tests. This threat cannot be underestimated. Responsibility cannot be fully and finally dropped on British nurseries. We are all fighting it together. We are totally on the same side as the UK government and the HTA.”


What is xylella? Xylella fastidiosa affects its host plants by invading their water-conducting systems, upstream and downstream, blocking the movement of water and nutrients through the plant, with serious consequences, including death, for some host plants. In nature, the pathogen is exclusively transmitted by insects from the Cicadellidae and Ceropidae families, several species of which can be found in the UK, including the common froghopper (Philaenus spumarius). Although such insects usually only fly short distances of up to 100m, they can be carried much longer distances by the wind. In commercial horticulture, transportation of infected plants is the biggest threat.

What should you do? 4All commercial imports of susceptible plants must have a passport - so importers are advised to take steps to insure their passports are correct and up to date. Retailers too should aim for 100% traceability of all imported plants. 4Planteria staff, especially those responsible for receiving plant deliveries, will need to be to specially trained to check for problems, both on the physical plant and its documentation. 4Your first step should be to obtain the HTA’s Xylella fastidiosa e-learning module, which is available free of charge. It’s eight minutes long and can be accessed here: www.hta.org.uk/xylella 4Whilst aimed at plantarea and garden retail staff the information will also be relevant for plant buyers and business owners, as well as the wider industry. The elearning module includes information about: • Host species • Five-point plan • Plant Passporting


Inheritance Tax Planning...

Is grain-free food good for our pets?

Ken Young, Partner at accountancy firm Wilkins Kennedy Many garden centres are family businesses, run by one or two, sometimes three, generations of the same family. The formula can be very successful, but when passing the business down from one generation to the next, it is vital to plan for Inheritance Tax (IHT), says Ken Young, Partner at top 20 accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy. The amount of money paid to the Exchequer by way of IHT is rising year on year – since 2014 receipts have increased by more than 30%. It is important that considerable thought and planning around this aspect of tax is undertaken, rather than looking at your options at the last minute. With forethought, reliefs can be claimed, in particular Business Property Relief, that can lead to considerable saving on the full IHT rate of 40%. IHT can be significantly reduced through planning ahead, especially as some options require action at least seven years prior to death. Equally importantly, long-term planning can ensure clarity, reduce liabilities and avoid leaving complex and emotive issues for family and close friends to resolve. Navigating the tax maze and

understanding tax implications can be complicated. Seeking professional advice from a number of specialists throughout the process is important. As a starting point, garden centre owners should know what their business is worth. Garden centres make up a specialist property category with values from land, buildings and trade potential. To ensure an accurate market valuation, it is essential to approach a valuer who understands garden centres, how they operate and who has a detailed knowledge of the market. A garden centre is categorised as a business asset and, as such, attracts Business Property Relief at a rate of 50% on death but only if certain conditions apply. However, if the garden centre is held via an unquoted limited trading company and shares have been held for two years then 100% Business Property Relief will be due, i.e. there will be no IHT payable on the business. You can begin to see why specialist advice is highly recommended. A simple summary is provided below but further advice should be taken on this to ensure all conditions are met in your particular circumstances.

Type A business or an interest in a business Unquoted securities which on their own, or combined with other unquoted shares or securities, give control of an unquoted company Unquoted shares, including shares listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) Quoted shares which give control of the company Land or buildings, machinery or plant used wholly or mainly for the purposes of the business carried on by a company or partnership Land or buildings, machinery or plant available under a life interest and used in a business carried on by the beneficiary

It is important to note that Inheritance Tax relief will be due if assets are gifted before death, as long as the donor has held the assets for two years before the point of gifting. Relief will only be due if the beneficiary is holding the assets as a going concern at the donor’s date of death. Any assets or shares gifted more than seven years prior to death will be completely exempt from Inheritance Tax. For individuals who receive gifted shares, there are two types of tax relief that you may be entitled to, subject to conditions being met. Shares gifted can qualify for Business Property relief within their own right after two years and Entrepreneurs Relief may also be

Rate of relief 100% 100% 100% 50% 50% 50%

due if you are an officer or employee of the business, owning at least 5% of the ordinary shares with 5% of voting rights. The bigger issue is around succession planning and the passing of the business on to the next generation. When considering succession issues, it is not just about gifting your business. You will need to ensure you retain some right to income or capital to fund your retirement. Most importantly, every situation is different and I would strongly recommend that you seek professional advice before acting. Planning ahead is critical, and is covered in more detail in our second article next month.


Almost half of the population of the UK own pets, with 25% of us choosing to share our homes with dogs. This makes a decision with regards to the type of pet food we purchase a rather ubiquitous one. But with all of the options available, how do we know we are making the right choice on what is nutritionally best for our pets? All breeds of dog that we know today, from Jack Russell’s through to Labradors are part of a subspecies of Canis lupus, or the wolf. This close association to their wild counterparts has led some people to believe that our domestic dogs are actually not designed to consume modern pet foods, fuelling a recent trend towards grain-free and even raw diets. What must be kept in mind is the fact our domestic dogs parted ways with their wild ancestors over 15,000 years ago, with much evolution through domestication occurring since that point. So far 10 gene alterations have been discovered which have transformed our modern dog’s digestive tract to become more akin to that of their human counterparts, allowing them to enjoy the full benefits of an omnivorous diet, inclusive of such components as vegetables and grains. The vast majority of dogs can utilise and tolerate whole grains extremely well indeed, with the incidence of gluten or related allergen intolerances being minimal as compared to the levels found within the human population. In fact, the main culprits of sensitivity in dogs are actually been shown to be beef, dairy and lamb products. Therefore the proportion of pets which could directly benefit from a grain-free diet is extremely small as compared to the magnitude of options of this nature currently available. Overall, maintaining whole grains as part of a balanced diet should be considered by the vast majority of dog owners as a very positive inclusion. They provide essential nutrients and fibre alongside a source of easily digestible carbohydrates, promoting the good health and nutrition of our pets from the inside out. Skinner’s Pet Foods manufacture a range of different diets and each one has been carefully formulated by the company’s expert nutritionists to provide the correct balance of protein, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals required by your dog. “We know exactly what goes into our products and we only select the finest natural ingredients, many of which have been sourced from the fields surrounding the Skinner’s mill!”

November 2017 19


Forthglade: 100% natural nutrition for dogs from the heart of Devon Devon-based Forthglade have been producing natural nutritious meals for pets for 46 years with a wide selection of tasty recipes. Packed with high quality meats, tasty vegetables and health-boosting vitamins and minerals, each meal comes with a ‘junk-free’ promise. Easily digestible and gentle enough for pets with sensitive tummies, Forthglade’s awardwinning grain-free complete meals are available in seven delicious recipes. Providing dogs with everything they need to stay healthy and happy, the nutritionally balanced meals contain 75% meat, such as lamb, duck, turkey, or salmon, combined with tasty vegetables like sweet potato or butternut squash. Vitamins, minerals, probiotics and botanicals are added, ensuring optimum health for each stage of a dog’s life, from puppy through to senior years. Meals are available in 395g trays for ease of serving, or smaller 125g trays, making them perfect for smaller dogs.

Festive fare

Grain-free goodness hasn’t been forgotten at Christmas time, with a Christmas treat and festive dinner for dogs. Packed with turkey, cranberry and parsnip, the heart-shaped treats also contain health boosting omega-3, botanicals and prebiotics, keeping dogs happy and healthy during the festive season. As with the regular functional treats, they come in 150g re-sealable pouches with RRP of £2.99. With 75% turkey, teamed with festive vitamin-rich cranberries and parsnips, Forthglade’s Christmas Dinner for dogs includes omega-3, minerals, linseed oil, seaweed, prebiotics, camomile, parsley, rosemary and nettle, plus glucosamine and chondroitin. The wet meals RRP at £1.35 per 395g tray and are available in cases of 7 trays.

Grain-Free Hand-Baked Treats Launched earlier this year and already proving hugely popular are Forthglade’s new range of natural treats. The grain-free hand-baked functional treats come in four recipes and serve a functional purpose; supporting development, health and rewarding good behaviour. They’re available in 150g re-sealable bags, retailing at £2.99 each.


For pet owners looking for something a little special, but without compromising on health and nutrition, Forthglade’s new Gourmet meals for dogs are ideal. With a minimum meat content of 75%, the grain-free natural recipes include Beef & Wild Boar with root vegetables and apples, Duck & Venison with green beans and apricots, and also Turkey & Goose with pumpkin and cranberries. Packed with goodness, the meals ensure a nutritionally balanced complete diet. Suitable for adult dogs from 1 year+ and available in 395g trays, RRP of £1.99 per tray and available in cases of 7.

20 November 2017

For further information on Forthglade’s natural meals and treats email trade@forthglade.com or visit www.forthglade.com. www.gardentradenews.co.uk




This year, the industry has been debating the many challenges faced by the supply chain. Suppliers are feeling the pressure as retailers stick to a ‘little and often’ approach to their inventories, with the supporting infrastructure and working week stretched to its limits. An open dialogue between retailers and suppliers is still required to release some of this pressure, but results will of course take time and effort from all parties. The wholesale route, however, is one that offers a valuable and popular alternative. Here we find out more about the role of the wholesaler and why it can make a significant difference to the way we work as an industry. Earlier this year we mentioned the issues surrounding holding stock and the ‘enough to fill the shelves’ concept. It’s a solution that is arguably most relevant to wholesalers – with the benefits for retailers extending beyond simply improving stockturn and controlling their cash. The ability to more easily introduce new products, to take a chance

on something new and to widen ranges allows retailers to more accurately match the ever broadening expectations of customers. In turn, with more products on offer, competition is increased amongst suppliers, which can result in an improved margin for the retailer or extra value for the consumer. Distributors that buy in bulk not only tend to buy it at a cheaper rate, they can also help to control supply and repeat the same promotional prices at a constant rate. For suppliers, many benefits only surface under scrutiny of the process. Charlie Lacey, CEO of Decco, currently has 35 reps on the road. “When you add our own salesforce to those already working for the supplier – it gives a huge increase in coverage. “We make sure the customer is carrying the right range, ensure promotional activity is in place, making sure stock is replenished and generally represent manufacturers in more places than they are able to get to. But more than that, we also offer marketing support that benefits suppliers and retailers

alike. We create targeted consumer demand for products in our Fair and Square consumer promotions – which provide a 16-page professional, quality leaflet for which we arrange distribution through Royal Mail to households in their area. This sort of quality of marketing material is simply not available for most independent businesses to produce on their own.” David Hibbert, Managing Director of Stax – a GIMA member – says that the hunt for margins can lead to unforeseen problems, particularly when attempting to control more of the supply chain. “Anybody can order a container from China. The problem is, once you’ve paid for the shipment, there’s also insurance, carriage, and then making sure it arrives at the right time. You also have an additional problem when you do make your money back selling the items – how do you stock up on just one line? “That’s where we come in, as a consistent source of product and allowing for better margins than having gone through the

There were lots of great new products at Glee this year, and GIMA believes a good wholesale network is essential in turning them into the bestsellers of tomorrow.

22 November 2017


process of sourcing direct from overseas.” When it comes to technology, modern online ordering systems are helping to add more effectiveness within the supply chain. For example, Decco has a 24-hour resource with category management, 24-hour stock level information, in addition to details on pricing and the latest promotions. Stax is different as it sells direct to trade professionals as well as retail partners, but they also employ a vast online ordering portal that provides stock information and full access to credit account details showing statements and ability to download copy VAT invoices. Interestingly, if you are a manufacturer looking to work with wholesalers with online ordering systems such as these, the advice is to concentrate on providing complete product information in a clear format which has become a major factor in the process of getting listed. Many thanks to David and Charlie for their candid insight into the unique role of the wholesaler – many of you are of course already dealing with them and are fully aware of the benefits. But despite the reduction in numbers of wholesalers over recent years, GIMA believes their role to be as relevant as it has always been. As we continue to encounter the unique peaks and troughs of our industry, it is essential that we are aware of the different ways of smoothing them over. 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

Profile for Garden Trade News

GTN November 2017  

GTN November 2017  

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