More concessions including body treatment centres, improved catering offers, and greater use of water features could become more popular in UK garden centres if ideas seen during a recent GCA trip to South Africa are introduced here.
GCA members attended the International Garden Centre Congress last month, which visited stores in Johannesburg and Cape Town. GCA chairman David Danning said it had been an interesting event, with several visible differences between how South African and British garden centres operated. In particular, low wage rates meant staffing levels were so high that each customer could almost have a personal shopper assistant.
He said every centre visited had several concessions, including some with estate agents, and even one that offered a spa and treatment facility for customers.
Every garden centre incorporated water features mixed in with plant displays. Danning said: “They were natural-looking with water flowing over stones and rocks, rather than the ornate styles found in the UK.”
Coolings Nurseries chairman Paul Cooling saw several plants that he is now trying to source. “Displays were done well with a wide range of plants, although there was no great order to them.”
He was also impressed by catering, which was on a larger scale.
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