The event, which is organised by HW’s sister magazine Garden Retail in association with the HTA, was opened by GR editor Matthew Appleby.
He told the audience that this year’s entrants reflected how dynamic and exciting garden retailers are being in the face of increasing competition and tough selling conditions. In her keynote speech, HTA retail management group chair Caroline Owen said retailers and suppliers of plants and manufactured stock must work out new ways of developing a positive working relationship. Speaking in the wake of retailers having had another tough year and suppliers feeling pressure to cut prices, Owen told hundreds of guests that better relations are the best way of generating more income for all of us and enabling us to invest some of this to drive the market forward.
She added: We should look at focusing our funds on promoting our industry and our products to our customers, and ruthlessly cut out any other, marginal activity. We are already seeing our share of key parts of the market increasing steadily – plant sales and catering, for instance. Let’s build on our ability to strengthen our position together. Owen said the awards recognised excellence and helped raise standards in the industry. She added that this is the only way we will compete effectively with the new competition.
This year’s sponsors were Bayer Garden, Floramedia, Hammond Phillips, MorePeople and Westland Horticulture. Roll of Honour Best Retail Promotion Kids Club Dig It! — Garden & Leisure Group Best Themed Display Pumpkins — Petersham Nurseries Best Use of Space Farmers Market & Vegetables — Grosvenor Garden Centre Environmental Best Practice — Garden & Leisure Group Best New Plant Introduction — Begonia ‘Aromantics’ — Thompson & Morgan Young Plants Best New Product for the Amateur Gardener Humax Fruit & Vegetable Bags — Humax Horticulture Best Pet or Aquatics Department Cadbury Garden & Leisure — Garden & Leisure Group Best Planteria — Palmers Garden Centre Best Catering Facilities — Petersham Nurseries Café — Petersham Nurseries Best Business Development: New Build, Refit or Launch Open Skies — Bents Garden Centre Commitment to Training/Education — Garden & Leisure Group Retail Outlet of the Year: under £3m turnover — Palmers Garden Centre Retail Outlet of the Year: over £3m turnover — Scotsdale Garden Centre Young Retailer of the Year Matthew Bent — Bents Garden Centre Outstanding/Lifetime Achievement Award — John Ravenscroft