Retailer highlights volume issue with poinsettia imports

The temptation to go Dutch when buying poinsettia "does not stack up" because the amount of extra plants retailers have to sell means they are unlikely to make more money, according to Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker.

Bunker: Alton Garden Centre
Bunker: Alton Garden Centre

"In most cases if you drop retails from say £6.99 to £4.99 and have gone from paying £2.80 to £2.00, if you sell 500 you have to sell 40 per cent more to stand still," he said. "Also, regardless of customer perception of the price being good, you will still not be realistically that cheap because sheds will be £3.99 and probably less."

Bunker, who sells 90 per cent British poinsettia, said the best suppliers are charging £2.50 to £2.90 wholesale for one-litre plants. Supermarkets will probably buy at a smaller spec at around £2.00 then sell for £2.99 to £3.99.

"This then gives garden centres two options - carry on as we are with a reasonable volume but good margin or chase the bigger volume, which means importing."

He added that record July sales in his department meant three record months in a row, thanks to good weather, people not going on holiday because of Calais transport problems and terrorism fears, more impulse stock being available, average sales prices being up and an improved retail environment and stock reviewing system.

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