Garden Centre 2020, which was unveiled at Glee 2016 at Birmingham NEC on September 12 has been created in direct response to the HTA’s concerns about decline in home and garden ownership among the new generation and its impact upon gardening sales.
Scott said: "The fact that less people own properties and gardens is actually only part of the problem: the key reason is the change in people’s attitudes and how they choose to spend their leisure time – be it eating out, visiting the cinema, going on holiday or visiting public gardens that they’ll enjoy and appreciate but not have to maintain.
"That doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate, or want, an attractive garden, but that their time is more limited and that it needs to be lower maintenance.
"As such, we’ve developed Garden Centre 2020, a new-look garden centre for the next decade, which will blend the best of traditional centres with a new, fun presentation. We want to create a destination to offer experiential products and services along with a wider specialist range for committed and seasoned gardeners."
Scott said that to date, many garden centres are geared towards an established customer-base of gardeners, and that while owners are aware that they need to alter their offering to appeal to a younger generation of gardeners, they are reluctant to adopt change in case it costs them their existing, older customers.
"What we have done with this new concept is to crystallise our ideas of the garden centre that could be built if we started now by 2020 and how it could blend the best of the old with a new presentation; one that appeals to both young and aged consumers and has an offering to attract both the time-precious, fun-seeking generation and the committed gardener keen to seek a wider range of specialists products."
The 2020 Garden Centre has been designed around giving prominence to those key experiential products and services which consumers find appealing, linking key products and services together in order to provide maximum consumer appeal and given maximum investment in terms of quality of construction and retail fit-out.
A series of ‘hubs’ focusing on all aspects of garden, home and leisure, form GC2020.
The first hub sets the tone for the 2020 Garden Centre, featuring plants, ideas and information, a kitchen and farm shop, garden restaurant and children’s experience.
Scott added: "The new generation of garden owners may not want to garden and may not know how to. First we need to let them know that there are ways of gardening that are fun and that can be successful. It’s a case of ‘why?’ before ‘how to’.
"The garden ideas point will feature ideas and solutions rather than problems and answers."
The three product zones aligned adjacent to these experiential hubs are: core gardening to the right, home-ware and concessions to the left, and outdoor plants occupying the central part of the store. These three zones would be built in lower cost construction.
"Garden centres as they successfully become all year round home, leisure and garden destinations, are in danger of losing their traditional core product lines to the DIY stores and the internet, which appeals to the new generation of cost aware consumers.
"Core products may need an ‘own label’ value approach - as supermarkets and DIY chains do - to identify key value lines, but costs can also be driven down by utilising more basic construction and shop-fitting. The objective is to offer consumers everyday competitive prices on core gardening lines."
GC2020 will be different forms of buildings dependent upon each garden centre site and its potential and limitations, with the MSC team working within the existing limitations and budgets to plan appropriate extensions and designs to maximise today’s centre into that of 2020.