He said the garden sector still has growth potential, as shown by Tesco buying Dobbies and Terra Firma buying the Garden Centre Group. He added that the Waitrose customer profile is closely aligned to the core gardening consumer and Waitrose is experienced at handling short-life product, "including a significant cut flower operation".
Evason said Waitrose "remains prudent when investing into new areas". Waitrose's link to Crocus is a "quick and easy way into the online garden market", he added. "This collaborative, partnering approach may well be important for the future of independent garden centres and should be considered in product sourcing, supply chain efficiencies and any online activity."
He said suppliers and growers will have more opportunities for placing products with wider distribution and this "will put new vigour into the gardening sector".