UK growers hopeful of better poinsettia sales

Poinsettia sales from UK growers will be better this year because of the euro's strength against sterling hitting Dutch imports, according to growers.

Spray: expects exchange rates to reduce import levels
Spray: expects exchange rates to reduce import levels

Woodlark Nurseries' Colin Edwards said he sold his early blacked out crop that started on 1 November and there is "definitely the demand there" after import prices rose 20 per cent.

English growers can compete better on products such as cyclamen and other flowering pot plants, he suggested. Some garden centres have told him imported poinsettia is up from £2 to £2.80 for a 13-14cm pot. "I'm hearing less of 'I can get it cheaper from Holland'. This puts us on an even playing field."

Edwards has helped launch a poinsettia festival starting running in garden centres and in the media on 25 November. The campaign launches at Clifton Nurseries on 29 November and will also be at Millbrook, Grosvenor and Pentland garden centres. Roundstone, Hills and Woodlark are providing plants for the launch.

Pentland Plants owner David Spray said: "Exchange rates will reduce the numbers of poinsettia coming into the UK from Holland this year. This will add at least 15 per cent, which is quite a bit, and they don't travel well anyway. They're better bought locally. We now have better quality at the same price. In the past we were 10 per cent more expensive so we're optimistic this year."

Newey Group's Alex Newey said the crop is looking good but added: "There is not a volume retailer in the land that is looking to accept cost price increases." Cost price reduction by taking cost out of the supply chain is commonplace, he added. "As a group we have to be able to respond to that in a proactive way." He said there is "complete justification for increasing prices as a result of exchange rates" because no one expected Brexit.

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