Tackle drivers of uncertainty factors

By the end of March last year, following a great start to the season, retailers were falling over themselves to report the "incredible" sales they had experienced since the weather had turned.

The news was all the more welcome thanks to the very great contrast with March 2013, when the industry was still in the midst of an 18-month weather disaster that continued until long after many growers had been forced to dump their spring crops in skips.

The cost of that disastrous period was spelled out in the University of Reading's horticulture report for 2012-13, which revealed average falls of between 37 and 54 per cent in business income for hardy nursery stock and ornamental glasshouse growers respectively. Figures out this week from Reading show 2013 overall was not much better for ornamental growers - but that is not too surprising given the period will have included the impact of that infamous spring 2013.

What continues to concern is an ongoing air of uncertainty reported this week by Will George of the Nursery Business Improvement Scheme that is impacting growers' confidence for 2015, despite 2014 generally being a good year for the ornamental production sector.

The uncertainty is being driven by a mix of garden centre consolidation, ongoing trimming of plant sales space in garden centres, lack of certainty on forward orders, a sense that seasonal weather patterns are less reliable and a push from centres to clear remaining stocks by autumn.

None of these drivers of uncertainty, or their impacts, are entirely out of the wider garden industry's control, and one way or another they must be tackled to ensure UK growers can invest confidently in the future rather than leave the door open to competitors.

- kate.lowe@haymarket.com.

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

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.