Kortegaard gives Europe-wide view on Christmas tree market 2017

Trees are at similar prices to 2016 but that continental-grown trees remain competitive and are just as fresh as UK grown.

Kortegaard is an independent wholesale business specialising in selling Christmas trees to garden
centres in the UK rather than DIYs or supermarkets. Trees come from Denmark, Scotland and Ireland as well as other EU countries. 
Kasper Kortegaard said the market for quality cut trees is similar to the last couple of years, that "quality sells in garden centres and generally quality very clearly comes before origin and price".
He added: "It has been a good growing year in most places, but we are still seeing a shortage of higher quality trees in the market and a glut of lower quality trees.
"Wholesale prices are similar to last year in spite of the exchange rate having dropped about 10-15%. Our prices are almost identical to 2016. Retail prices also appear like they are going to be similar to 2016.
"We see British grown trees having a small competitive advantage in the short term, but it is worth noting that the seedlings, most of the labour involved in producing trees, mostly come from continental Europe and have not become any cheaper. Prices and quality from Scotland seem similar to 2016."
Kortegaard said he is seeing an increase in real container grown trees, through potted/re-potted trees are not as popular as they have been.
Trees from the continent might be in transit up to 12 hours or so longer than trees from Scotland, but the weather in Scotland was unpredictable "often causing an earlier harvest than on the continent", he said.
"There is nothing to suggest continental trees are not as fresh as British grown trees. The driving distance from Inverness to London is just under 600 miles and from Kolding in Denmark to London just over 700 miles."
On quality, he said: "We have seen a trend in various mix grades and very "open" premium grades the past couple of years that appear very competitive on paper, however, they often turn out to contain many lower grade trees and are not as cheap as expected. Most suppliers grade differently and it is often very difficult to compare grades and prices on paper.
"We believe 'tight' grades are more transparent as you get the quality you are expecting and you can always buy in some good quality second grade trees and value trees and mix in to improve margins. This way garden centres can manage the mix of trees/prices/margins far better and have a fair chance of standing out successfully against super markets and DIY stores who sell cheap, lower quality trees."

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