Mr Fothergill's plans ahead for 2016

Mr Fothergill's has held an open day at its Kentford, Suffolk trial grounds to show off 2016 launches.

Mr Fothergill's brand Johnsons Seeds has relaunched with a new logo and packaging, and a range of 1,000 varieties.

The Fleuroselect year of the sunflower and cosmos has prompted a new range, while a Jekka McVicar herb range is also new. GroMat and GroBox starter kit ranges also have new products.

Joint managing director John Fothergill said 2015 was not a bad season with some good wins in retail, notably at Wyevale, and a "reasonably robust" underlying performance. Mail order seed sales showed growth of 19 per cent. Fothergill also highlighted a reduction in costs. Returns are yet to be calculated.

According to GfK the overall seed market is down 3.3 per cent in value and two per cent in volume this year after a late start to the season but Fothergill said increased share meant the company had not suffered and would be ahead if returns are normal.

Fothergill pinpointed a north-south divide with sales stronger in the South. Exports were solid to Australia and launched at 59 independents in New Zealand as well as at Bunnings, Palmers, Oderings and after five years away from that market. Exchange rates and the Russian market have been challenges, Fothergill added.

Deliveries into garden centres started this month. Mr Fothergill's will be at Four Oaks and Glee next month.

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