Smart Garden to supply Chapelwood from October 10

After Smart Garden bought Chapelwood wild bird care this month, Smart Garden chairman Jonathan Stobbart is planning for the future with the former Scotts and Solus-owned brand.

Stobart is telling customers this week that will start supplying direct from next week (10 October) after Scotts transfers stocks to Smart following selling the brand last week.

He said stocks were good and although Smart plans to delist some lines at the end of the year or when they run out, it will keep available the top 100 products.

Stobart said the feed market is "uber competitive", with "most people struggling to make a normal or acceptable margin", but he sees potential growth in the "hardware" side of the business - bird feeders.

He added: "There has not been a huge amount of innovation. In hardware, there is a chance to innovate."

Stobart said there was no chance to change the brand before this bird care season but Smart would relaunch Chapelwood in May 2017.

He said that the brand had some "residual affection" from garden centres so Smart would not be starting from "zero" but he was aware Chapelwood "is not what it was in the heady days" when sales were around £10m-£12m a year. Sales could be as low as £2m now, according to industry estimates. Stobart said Scotts mothballing other Solus brands it bought in 2014 had damaged Chapelwood, but that Smart's "in depth experience and more entrepeneurial approach" would revive the brand.

Stobart said Smart Solar, which specialises in solar lights, had been looking to add bird care for a couple of years but would not seek to "reinvent the wheel" and was hoping to become second or third choice brand at many retailers.

Smart Garden has Gardman founder Paris Natar as a director. He helped build the £200m market when at Gardman, which has since taken a bigger market share following Chapelwood's prolonged sale to and from Scotts.

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