Pre-season ordering is still important, says Owen

Retailers should not turn their backs on pre-season ordering if they want to secure sales and good payment terms, says HTA retail committee chairman Caroline Owen.

Last week, Solus managing director Nick Davies and Shoots garden centres director Piers Mummery suggested that pre-season ordering was dying out as garden centres turned to "little and often" ordering to help their cashflow.

But Scotsdales director Owen said: "Many retailers are reluctant to place pre-season orders, but I don't think you can afford not to. You will lose sales and good payment terms. After all, you are always going to get a period in the season when you will sell products."

Pre-season orderers typically do not pay until the end of May. But Owen added: "The days of ordering compost pre-season in November are gone." She said the "best early March since 2004" had led to shortages in the marketplace.

Davies said: "I believe pre-season is in decline but not dead."


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