Bulrush retail sales manager Alex Julien has highlighted how much more attractive the independent garden centre is to suppliers than multiples, who he says are forcing wholesalers and manufacturers to walk away from business.
Julien said the focus for Bulrush, who return to Four Oaks trade show this month after several years away, is on the independent garden centre trade as opposed to building further volume with the multiple sector: "The aim is to align Bulrush retail quality alongside Bulrush grower quality and improve the offering for the independent retail trade.
"We're not one of the big brands and don't really want to be. Our focus is on people who want quality, and the place where you can get that is the independent garden centre. They tend to be customer focused and advice is given by the owner saying what they recommend."
Julien said Bulrush were asked to tender for Wyevale Garden Centres contract but margins were "very low" and Bulrush did not take up the option.
He added: "This is something that is definitely happening in the multiple sector. Certain people just want to drive volume for no margin and that's not what we're about. That's how you get yourself in trouble."
Sinclair, which went into administration in August before being bought by rival Westland, have several multiple contracts, though Westland has turned down tendering for multiple contracts in recent times because of margin issues.
Growing Media Association chairman Steve Harper, who used to work for Sinclair and Bord na Mona and now works for Gardman, said: "Margins at multiples for growing media - this is nothing new. In previous roles we walked away from quoting for business because the retailer was demanding too low a price. It happens all of the time. I'm sure most business measures the potential profitability of these large deals before entering into a contract.
"Recent history shows us that taking the price too low ultimately brings only one result. What's the old saying... turnover is vanity, profit is sanity, cash is a reality."
He said pricing and margin issues are not discussed at GMA meetings.