Harper added: "Everyone seems to have had a reasonable year. No one has any concerns about raw materials. The harvest is slightly below average but given two good years everyone has plenty of peat. Peat stocks are where they should be."
Regarding Westland’s Sinclair takeover, he said: "I’m sure some retailers will look at it and review what they’re doing. Most manufacturers are telling me it creates an opportunity."
On prices, he said: "Sinclair was the most competitive player in the market place so them coming out of the market might mean overall prices in the market place change a little bit but we won’t see that until next year."
He said Wyevale Garden Centres has "probably the largest contract in the market". The contract is believed to have moved from Sinclair to Scotts, with Bord na Mona doing own brand.
Harper said: "Own brand goes in cycles. What a lot of retailers don’t understand is own brand is hard to manage because you have the responsibility for the stock and packaging. It’s good for big multiples but some small retailers find it hard to manage. If they stock branded they expect it to be delivered but for B&Q and Homebase it is second nature to work with own label.
"Manufacturers have to have the expectation you’re going to commit to a certain amount of stock and that volume is too high for a lot of retailers. For the majority of retailers, particularly independents, it is probably something they won’t need to do."