Glee organisers aim to reassure reluctant firms

Glee show organisers hope that upbeat vibes and new exhibition ideas will coax recession-worried exhibitors to sign up for the garden-retail event.

Prices have been frozen for last year's exhibitors who have not yet signed up to the show on 20-22 September, according to senior marketing manager Carl Groves.

He said: "We are making a special offer for last year's exhibitors who have not yet rebooked."

Groves did not reveal the number of exhibitors who had already booked. He added: "At the moment, we have fewer than last year, reflecting what's happening in the industry. Some smaller suppliers are holding back, waiting to see how the season starts.

"Cashflow is a problem, so they are seeing if they sell well. It's not necessarily an issue with the show: firms have to manage cashflows and marketing budgets."

Groves said the organisers wanted to make it more of a "definition event", so that new products and networking were high priorities.

"We are trying to create more reasons to come, and we are looking at content and a retail concept garden based on demographic themes."

This would bring together different products from the show in a garden setting that could be echoed in garden centres in order to sell concepts to customers.

"We want more products and skills training for retailers. There will be a big focus on the nursery section, while a British growers trail will highlight home-grown plants."

Groves said Glee aimed to rally the industry. Feedback from exhibitors and visitors suggests that many are positive but want a "strong Glee" in the face of the ongoing recession.

"We want to engender this positive feeling in people by showing the strength of the industry and helping them build their businesses for when the recession ends."

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