Four Oaks exhibitors say strong euro is boosting their business

UK suppliers exhibiting at this year's Four Oaks Trade Show said they are benefiting from the fall in the value of the pound against the euro - now trading at its lowest since the European currency was created in 1999.

Four Oaks Trade Show: UK suppliers are getting more enquires from the Continent - photo: HW
Four Oaks Trade Show: UK suppliers are getting more enquires from the Continent - photo: HW

The development is giving a fillip to suppliers - many of whom, while remaining upbeat, say they are having to work harder to secure reserves in the wake of the economic downturn.

West End Nurseries managing director Peter van Delft said: "All of a sudden we've started getting enquiries and orders from Germany, Holland and France."

Also picking up customers from overseas is New Place Nurseries. Sales director Steven Lee said: "The euro is definitely helping."

Seiont Nurseries general manager Neil Alcock said: "Buyers who would normally buy from the Continent are coming for our hardy ferns and heucheras."

Brian Fraser of Oakover Nurseries, who has been in Belgium and Holland four times this summer alone, said: "With the euro being so strong, it's putting us in a better position as we're 20 per cent cheaper."

However, Fraser warned that while the favourable exchange rate had the potential to see an increase in overall sales this year, this "one- off" business was ultimately "not what we're after".

While the weather was uppermost in exhibitors' minds, the benefits of restructuring to meet any challenges from the economic downturn were highlighted by a number of exhibitors at the show.

Managing director Phil Blackledge of tree-fern specialist HSK Gardening & Leisure said he has restructured his team to allow him to focus more on selling and meeting customers.

Wyevale Nurseries sales director Doug Reade, who noted that plant suppliers generally were having to work harder to secure sales, said the company has boosted its own sales team.

Meanwhile, Whetman Pinks managing director Caroline Whetman said she expected the company to reap the benefits of having incorporated the principles of "lean management". She said: "We saw it coming, so we prepared and I feel we are in a strong position to weather this one."

Geoffrey Gwilt of trolley supplier Castlefield, which picked up an order for 40 trolleys as the show opened, said: "People are looking to be economic and are prepared to pay for good-quality equipment that saves on costs."


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