Is there too much choice in garden centres?

Horticulture Week asked industry figures whether they should cut stock-keeping units (SKUs) in garden centres.

"Garden centres don't need to offer eight ways to kill an ant. Do they need eight when there's probably only four ways?

"The older generation know what they want. It's the new people we need and garden centres should be on board with that. They're relying too much on experienced gardeners who already know what they want.

"In 'chems and ferts' there's a plethora of choice and I agree with Scott's findings that we should cut SKUs - it's no different to what we found in our research four years ago. This is all compounded in the 'ferts and chems' aisle."

Steve Mead, head of marketing, Bayer

"You can't control the economy, VAT or the weather, but you can control your SKUs and merchandising.

"The weed-killer section was the most interesting. It had the highest time spent browsing by consumers but the lowest purchase conversion rate. This section is usually heavily SKUed with no clearly defined segmentation and merchandising principles, which leads to consumer confusion and dissatisfaction.

"After remerchandising the stand, based on the SBXL results, we noticed a 10 per cent increase in sales in the trial stores."

Jeff Kwiatkowski, sales director, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company

"What's wrong with us? Aren't you proud of the product that you sell? There's too much of everything else - eventually you get to the back of the store and there's some plants.

"Garden centres need plants. I know some of you are bringing those plants forward but may I ask that you bring some more plants forward?

"Some people say to me that the biggest stumbling block is going through that maze. Bring the plants forward please. There's too much choice and not enough information."

Christine Walkden, television gardener

"When you're successful, you are going to get copies. I would be asking what was wrong if there were not lots of books with exactly the same number of pages and of the same size.

"As long as I'm number one in sales, then that's fine. It could be confusing for people coming into garden centres. I'm not going to get into a tizzy. I've sold 52 million copies."

David Hessayon, 'Expert' author.

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