Smart Garden Products cuts impact on customers of cost increases

Smart Garden Products' chairman Paris Natar has said that while overall costs have increased 20-22% - he has mitigated them, and had also added 300 new products to the range, making up 40% of business for 2016.

Paris Natar
Paris Natar

Natar said there had been a 14% average currency hit plus inflation in Chinese labour, so since the Brexit vote on 23 June 2016 there has been a 20-22% overall inflation effect, but the company has managed to pass on less than 1/3.

He said: "There's lots of things you can do apart from price. We have 300 new products, which is 40% of our business next year, at higher margins."

Negotiating the supply chain down and finding new factories  are other ways to cut costs- "there is not just one lever". The company is also 30% larger than a year ago, which helps with overheads. Smart is opening a new factory in Peterborough with the aim to increase annual sales from £40m to £100m

Natar said: "Don't stop developing just because costs are increasing." GIMA said this month rising costs has led to a dearth of new product development.

Natar said: "Our strategic focus is on garden decor" but "everything flows from our core category of solar lighting".

Garden decor is the strategic focus of Smart Garden, probably the fasting growing company in the sector.

He said new ideas that appeal to garden centre customers include a Flaming Rustic Torch, decorative fruit light with solar panel on top, flower sticks and a flamingo with solar light that provides decoration in daytime and light at night.

Natar said pick up lines at £5-£10 hit customers' "sweet spot".

As founder of Gardman in 1992, Natar sold a controlling stake in the company to Barclays Private Equity in a deal worth £85m in December 2007. He left Gardman in 2011 and acquired a majority stake in Smart in 2013.

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