GIMA holds AGM and host speaker event - report

The Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association AGM has confirmed Colin Wetherley Mein as president.

Colin Wetherley Mein
Colin Wetherley Mein
During the proceedings at Haskins Roundstone garden centre, the following appointments were announced:
  • Colin Wetherley Mein, national sales manager for Vitax was voted in as GIMA president
  • Nigel Thompson, representing Stewarts, took on the role of honorary treasurer
  • Chris Ramsden of Suttons Consumer Products and Richard Pyrah from Kelkay remain in their current posts of vice president and honorary secretary respectively.
In addition to the existing council made up of:
  • Matt Jackson, Briers
  • Rainer Schubert, The Scotts Miracle-Grow Co.
  • Richard Bence, Treadstone
  • Alan Shepherd, Burgon & Ball
  • David Carey, Mr. Fothergill’s Seeds
  • Kate Ebbens, Cadix
  • Chris Holloway, Apta
Five new council member have been nominated to take on responsibilities of council membership representing the views of the members, and they are:
  • John Gomersall, Forest Garden
  • Simon McArdle, William Sinclair
  • Mark Butler, Town & Country
  • Jason Perrins, L G Harris
  • Emma Rogers, Westland Horticulture

This brings the GIMA council to its maximum allowed of 16.

In his opening address, Colin Wetherley-Mein vowed to continue to build on the work done by Steve Millington, building closer relations with fellow trade associations, reaffirming that a unified trade is what is required while so much change takes place in the marketplace. 

GIMA now has 155 members with 10 newcomers announced.

GIMA chief executive Vicky Nuttall said GIMA was keen to encourage smaller manufacturers through meet the buyer events, Glee and by offering membership benefits, including on overhead cost reductions through group buying via the Buying Group Support Agency, whose Matt Roper spoke at the event.

At the GIMA event, Glee event manager Matthew Mein said the plants area Green Heart would continue at the show. He hopes to increase nursery exhibitor numbers from 30 to 60, on a "cost neutral" basis. He said 80 per cent of the overall Glee floor plan is filled.

GIMA meeting attendees reported strengthening sales, with many saying they had picked up business from Solus. Gardman, who has Rebecca Griffiths replacing Sarah Downing as marketing manager, saw January-March sales up 21 per cent.

Bosmere said it had seen 'massive' growth post Solus.

Sinclair said industry overall growing media sales are 4.4 per cent down year to date but Sinclair is up 3 per cent and had taken one per cent extra market share, with J Arthur Bower's 50 litre multi purpose number one branded GfK compost.

Host, Haskins chief executive Julian Winfield, said he hoped to add two new-build centres to the four-centre group, as well as developing Snow Hill.

He said core gardening was down 4 per cent since 04/05, with non-gardening up 36 per cent, meaning sales were 25 per cent up overall. Food had risen 300 per cent, and clothing 141 per cent, with gifts up 92 per cent and Xmas 63 per cent. Plant sales fell 12 per cent.

Haskins buyer Conna Powles showed delegates inside the mind of a buyer, saying suppliers should not just sell, but should make it easy to help retailers buy.

Stephen Sidkin discussed agency legal issues and Guy Moreton spoke about succession planning. Former GIMA president Nigel Thompson is joining Moreton's MorePeople as a part-time associate.

Blue Diamond managing director Alan Roper said the 17-garden centre business used self-generated cash to buy new centres. He said Blue Diamond's 600 shareholders had seen earnings per share rise 321 per cent in 10 years.

Roper said a new customer loyalty scheme would offer customer benefits rather than points, such as a members' plant doctor scheme led by Peter Burks.

Blue Diamond will develop a multi platform website this year and click and collect by spring 2016.

Roper projected turnover as £85m in 2015 with 49 p per cent gardening and 51 non-gardening. The £71m 2014 turnover included £13.5m restaurant, £13.5m home, £5m clothing and £5m Xmas. He has created group section heads: Stuart Whalley (gardening), James Nuttall (plants),
Heidi Newton (fashion) and a home head to start in June.

See more tomorrow at

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