CSR analysis - Ornamentals

Market success will depend on communities

Amenity growers are waiting to see whether funding earmarked for education and transport infrastructure will translate into planting schemes, while those supplying the retail sector expect to see sales affected in areas hit by mass public-sector job cuts.

Coles Nurseries managing director James Coles said it was too early to know the full impact of the comprehensive spending review and it was a question of waiting to see when the private sector will pick up. He said: "At the end of the day we have to be realistic and say that the next two years are going to be hard but interesting."

Brian Fraser of Oakover Nurseries said the cuts were not as bad as he anticipated and said he was relieved that Defra funding will continue for projects like the Farm Woodland Scheme. He said: "Defra was something we were quite worried about, but it would appear that the high-level schemes with joint funding stay as is, which is quite positive."

Johnsons of Whixley joint managing director Andrew Richardson said he expected the Scottish and Northern Irish amenity markets to be "hit hard", but felt positive about the retail sector. He added: "The past 18 months have been good for the retail market and that is set to continue."

Hillier Nurseries managing director Andrew McIndoe said the impact on the retail sector will depend on cuts in local communities, adding: "If there are a lot of jobs cut in your area among your customer base, I think it's going to hit home harder."

Bransford Webbs Plant Company managing director Geoff Caesar expected sales of higher-value goods like barbecues and garden furniture to suffer but was positive about retail plant sales. He said: "I hope it has less of an impact on plant sales because the unit cost is lower and the feel-good factor from the spend is positive." He was more concerned about January's VAT increase.

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