Retailers may follow Waitrose's garden lead

Waitrose's new gardening category, created on wooden staging outside its supermarkets, could lead to other stores replicating the idea, Stagecraft managing director Sebastian Smith has said.

In April 2013, Waitrose launched its flower garden range and, offering 6,000 garden products including an Alan Titchmarsh range. Waitrose said it would open 130 garden pods in 2014 in addition to the 40 opened in 2013.

It hoped for 10 per cent of the garden market within two years from 2014 and said it had two per cent within the first few months of launching gardening in 2013.

"Waitrose has created a new category for itself with external displays and it's been very successful," said Smith. "I know other supermarkets are looking at this as well."

Other supermarkets have used Danish trolleys to display plants but "they're not really sexy" and Stagecraft displays for Waitrose give a better feel, he added. Wyevale Garden Centres' expansion also offers prospects.

In the week to 31 January, Waitrose supply chain director David Jones said: "Customers were evidently thinking of spring - horticulture sales of items such as flowers and outdoor plants were up by 12 per cent."

Stagecraft has bought new land at its Powys site after doubling the size of the company in 2014.

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