"The big retailers won't waste their resources on servicing new, small accounts and in our understanding big retailers are consolidating their supply base anyway. The larger suppliers see the rewards from the big retailers flashing away too brightly to say 'no'. Hence in time the larger retailers are likely to only be serviced by the larger suppliers.
"If the big-hitting suppliers are growing/trading product to service the big boy retailers, how can then the smaller independent garden centres be different when it comes to plant stock, if they are drawing from the same reserves?"
He added: "We smaller guys - supplier and retailer alike - must work together, listen and feed each other to truly create a difference. After all, big is certainly not better by definition - just bigger."
Graham will be taking part in a panel discussion on the arrival of "little and often" purchasing by planteria managers at next month's Garden Retail Summit organised by Horticulture Week.
Other topics to be examined at the event include the explosion of consolidation among garden centres and their suppliers, the impact of a volatile euro on the garden plant and product supply chains, the National Living Wage and how to grow the gardening audience.
The Garden Retail Summit takes place on 4 February at the prestigious Grand Connaught Rooms in London's Covent Garden, followed in the evening by the Garden Retail & Garden Industry Awards. The summit will ask what actions should be taken right now by garden industry professionals, whether suppliers or buyers, who are impacted by the many changes in the market.
The line-up includes senior executives from Blue Diamond, B&Q, Squire's, the Tillington Group, Hillview Garden Centres, Bransford Garden Plants, Bellenden Public Affairs, Growforth Nurseries, Management Today, mdj2 and Ovation Consulting.
- For full details and tickets, go to www.gardenretailawards.com/summit or email event manager Sarah Fournier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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