Speaking on the subject of product quality at the recent HTA Garden Futures panel discussion hosted by HW, he said "de-specced" products produced "to hit price points" are being produced but: "I struggle to find alternative products that offer better value to our customers. I want to sell products that last. It's difficult to find that product. The last thing we want is returns. Solar lights are the classic - we get a lot back."
He cited Consumer Rights Act law changes on 1 October that give consumers more rights for compensation. For the first time, anyone who buys faulty goods will be entitled to a full refund for up to 30 days after purchase, instead of "a reasonable time" as previously.
Winfield said garden centre plants are of better quality though they are cheaper elsewhere so have better perceived value in garden centres. He said he is "happy the big groups look like each other. There are some things we sell we shouldn't. I question indoor furniture in our business. It doesn't sit very well with everything else we do. I don't want cheap gifts or Christmas decor. Occasionally our buyers have strayed."
The machinery sector is another difficult area because of Amazon sales, he added. Homebase trading director Jon Kemp said internet sales are eight per cent of overall £1.5bn turnover.