Capitalise on Saturday Valentines day, says Gow

Valentine's Day is a missed opportunity for many garden centres but the celebration coming on a Saturday this year could help sales, say garden retailers.

According to GIMA (Garden Industry Manufacturers' Association) director and Burcot Garden Centre co-owner Neil Gow: "Valentine's Day has been a non-event for the garden centre industry because it's all floristry and chocolates for men who don't feel comfortable in retail environments.

"But because it's a Saturday, that's more of an opportunity. Garden centres need to get the message out that Valentine's Day doesn't mean just red roses. There's Cornus or Skimmia, for instance.

"In tough times like these, why waste money on a red rose or bottle of champagne. Why not grow a lasting present? A rose bush might last longer than your marriage."

Buckingham Garden Centre planteria manager Chris Day said:

"As a garden centre/nursery we don't do cut flowers but we always do a themed display of roses, themed plants and witty signage. But it's not as big as Mother's Day because people post or use the florist.

"But being on a Saturday will help because it's our busiest day at this time of the year because people are buying things like hedging which they need all weekend to put in."

HTA business development manager Tim Briercliffe said drives to promote Valentine's Day as a plant rather than flower buyers' day had not been successful, but being on a Saturday could help sales and possibly restaurant turnover if men wanted to treat their wives to a garden centre meal.

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