There were 150 UK garden centre representatives including Hillier and Blue Diamond at GCF’s fourth annual three-day show held at EDD Group in the Netherlands.
GCF’s Brian Redman said: "The key focus for this year was notably about price given current concern over imports. This was demonstrated by the company's approach to logistical solutions to maximise efficiency whilst still getting the right product at the right time to customers.
"Through 'clever buying' keen prices have been secured from growers, for example with complete crops reserved in advance or the negotiation of sole export agreements to the UK. GCF accepts this has involved some margin reduction for the company itself but remains confident that the increased volumes in these lines will bring this back into balance.
"The show also presented a platform for GCF to highlight their point of difference. Indoor plants were given a makeover in line with current trends via the guest speaker, [Glee creative director] Romeo Summers - a renowned horticulture presenter on national TV in Holland who combined inspiration and 'story telling' into new ways to retail indoor collections. The new Cut Flower concept launched at the show created a lot of interest, giving customers the opportunity to explore a new and exciting sales opportunity.
"Although Garden Centre Fresh has not been immune to some inevitable price increases in the light of current situation within Europe, it has every reason to feel optimistic for the year ahead. Prices on key lines have remained strongly competitive. In particular, customers took advantage of our pre-season special show prices, booking stock and planning input whilst at the show. We have not compiled all the sales results yet but believe that the figures will be at least in line with previous years."
He said GCF had worked on logistics and although there are price rises, block delivering to cut transport costs, for instance, on full lorry loads of Salix rather than half a truck, has cut costs.
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