Rural retailer targets gardeners

Rural supplies retailer Countrywide is making a serious move into garden retailing by relaunching garden centres in 15 of its 41 stores around the UK.

The company poached a B&Q garden centre manager, David Gray, in December and he has been developing the stores to include a broad range of plants.

Gray told HW that Countrywide had offered gardening products for some time but the decision had been made to use the infrastructure in place in some of the stores and extend the offer to plants.

"They've had garden centres, but they've never done it properly and really only played at it. They've got canopies and all the lovely garden fences but all they've really stocked is compost. They've done everything else - just not plants."

The aim was to supply the rural community with a premium range of plants and a stronger core gardening range.

He said that Dutch and Italian specimen plants sourced from a Belgian supplier would be offered, but the company had a culture of using local growers, which would be continued for plants.

Gray believes there is room in the garden centre market to expand. "We don't relaunch until Easter but we've been getting plants in to prepare, and sales are already up by as much as 60 to 70 per cent in some stores."

Extensive advertising was planned to let customers know that Countrywide was now "in the business of selling plants".

Gray was unable to say how much was being spent on the redevelopments. However, a revamp team has gone into all the stores and set them up with the first stages, focusing on plant bed presentation.

Gray added: "Future growth depends on how the first 15 perform but more could be invested into the garden centres if they prove to be a success."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

What new vegetables will gardeners be growing in 2018?

What new vegetables will gardeners be growing in 2018?

Next year is Fleuroselect year of the chilli pepper and Thompson & Morgan and Mr Fothergill's have ranges around the hot vegetable, with a new way of promoting sales.

Garden centre building: what's going up?

Garden centre building: what's going up?

After a lull in new builds, 2018 could see a slight resurgence in garden centres being erected.

Retail seed: crowded market for 2018

Retail seed: crowded market for 2018

Thompson & Morgan is refocusing on the garden centre seed market, hoping to win back business from Mr Fothergill's, which has expanded during T&M's long sale process.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES

Our exclusive ranking of garden centre performance by annual turnover. 

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

Read latest articles