Are garden centre buying patterns causing problems for suppliers?

How are sales to garden centres going through? HW asks marketing and sales professionals whether garden centres are buying in advance or "just in time".

SUNDRIES SUPPLIER

"Sales have been slow to start because garden centres are using the 'just in time' approach and don't want to commit cash.

"They could run out of stocks if they suddenly run out of orders. There will be pressure on the supply chain but we are making preparations for that.

"Other than that the positive is our Natria range is now fully merchandised and is in Homebase, B&Q and 180 garden centres including Garden Centre Group."

- Steve Mead, marketing head, Bayer

TRADE BODY HEAD

"The majority of the garden retailers have plenty of stocks, taking heed of publicity of the potential impact of the bank holidays coming together.

"One supplier told me the past few months have been the toughest for cash flow the industry has known. That can't help. Retailers had a torrid time in the Christmas run-up. December is the second busiest month of the year and that tap is turned off in January and February."

- Neil Gow, director, Garden Industry Manufacturers Association

CENTRE OWNER

"We have £300,000 more stock in our centres and have had for months. That is 30 per cent more stock than a year ago.

"But on the whole I don't think suppliers will be able to cope if everyone picks up the phone from now on in. We are rammed with stock. That causes problems space-wise but we have to do it."

- Martin Stewart, owner, Stewarts Gardenlands

HOSE SUPPLIER

"There was a degree of caution in the run-up to Christmas but we've seen strong demand in the first three months of the year.

"But many retailers are developing tactics on how to cope with replenishment in April and May, because it's going to be a real challenge.

"We are ramping up production and are focused on the fact that there are only 18 working days available. If we had a magic wand we would like retailers to place additional orders now."

- Simon McArdle, marketing director, Hozelock


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