The panel included Growforth director Stan Green, Garden Industry Manufacturers Association director Vicky Nuttall and International Association of Horticultural Producers secretary-general Tim Briercliffe.
The volatility of the pound versus the euro and shorter lead times mean he commits less to overseas stock, though he still buys amenity and choice items he cannot get elsewhere, plus Dutch specialities such as skimmias, conifers and acers, as well as some opportunistic clock buying. This means the percentage he buys from Holland remains the same as ever, at below 10 per cent.
Briercliffe said the Dutch are "masters" of export because of their collaborations mechanisms and FloraHolland figures show a 20 per cent rise in exports to the UK in 2015 against 2014 because of exchange rates. But he added that there is less collaboration and fewer clock sales.
Nuttall said the big concern is consolidation in a mature market, meaning fewer buyers dealing with more products leading to more difficulty for suppliers to meet buyers, which could lead to less choice for the consumer. They agreed that "British" could be a selling point and online sales to China via website Alibaba or Amazon are a possibility as an "Uber" idea for the industry.
- The Garden Retail Summit was sponsored by Neudorff and the HTA