GIMA conference hears of tourism boost

The second of two GIMA Day Conferences of 2016 saw 90 delegates hear from Wilko and British Garden Centres Group at Clumber Park Hotel and Spa near Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Philippa Stubbs-credit Steve Burden
Philippa Stubbs-credit Steve Burden

British Garden Centres managing director Philippa Stubbs said: "Increased domestic tourism is certainly giving us a real boost. Not only are most of our 10 garden centres all within easy reach of each other, but we also own a leisure park, where customers stay and then include the garden centre as part of their staycation activities. Garden centres actually present a very attractive low cost family outing - so long as there are adequate play facilities and versatile, well-run restaurant areas.

She added: "We want to create an exquisite shopping experience for our customers, make it easier for them to shop and provide a great day out, and the products we sell must reflect these core values. We are looking for innovative products, with concise packaging - UK made is a huge plus, as are sensible price points with clever deals that don’t devalue the product category. More supplier sponsored staff training would also be well received as it really does work to motivate staff and sales."

Robin Bosworth has become area manager, Dan Hind is the sundries group buyer and Dan Kirby is landscape group buyer.

Wilko senior buyer Kate McCartney said in the garden and outdoor category 40 million units sold generating £115 million worth of sales. There are 400 stores add 20 per cent of sales are accounted for online.

Lloyd Taylor, head of garden and outdoor buying at Wilko, said: "More than ever suppliers need to embrace digital. The lines that perform well online, believe me, if they are right for our customer, will feed through to the shelf. We consider digital and bricks and mortar as not just the sum of its parts but something much greater, and a fundamental part of the customer experience."

Own brand ranges are worth £850m a year to Wilko, who would like to work more with suppliers on
creating further ranges that are quality and value for money.

But Taylor added: "We can’t credibly sell own brand products such as ferts and chems, unless we have built a reputation on supplying trusted brands. We want the big brands, and in general a well edited range that doesn’t overwhelm our customers."

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