Appeal for suppliers to join forces

Peter Seabrook believes garden manufacturers need to work together to prevent consumers concreting their gardens.

Garden suppliers need to work together to combat people concreting over their gardens, according to garden writer and journalist Peter Seabrook. Speaking at the Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association (GIMA) meeting in Warwick on 12 January, Seabrook said that garden suppliers should create a garden package for customers to encourage them to retain their green space. He said: “Concreting gardens means we are losing trade and what are we doing about it?” He believes that there should be collective efforts with suppliers working together to sell complementary products. As an example he suggested Bayer Garden’s Baby Bio working with Suttons Seeds. But GIMA members were reluctant to adopt the idea. The director of garden centre consultancy Ibbis, Ian Boardman, believes that it is a good concept but said the organising of groups of suppliers has previously been unsuccessful. He said: “Of course, we will do all we can to increase trade.” GIMA director Peter Marsh believes that suppliers should look at linked selling. He added: “It is not a new concept and has been unsuccessful in the past — but that doesn’t mean it can’t work now.” Easy Gardener national sales manager Philip Nicholson believes that there has been a “reluctance to participate”. He added: “Getting suppliers together is a challenge.” Seabrook also said suppliers could benefit from using the internet as a sales tool and that salesmanship is an area to improve.

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