The HTA Seasonal Plant Focus at Young Plants in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, on 21 November will feature Chris Beytes, the editor of US magazine GrowerTalks.
He will explain the evolution of the grower-retailer relationship in the USA as part of discussions on how growers and retailers should work together to increase sales. Beytes will speak about how the "big box" end of things is controversial in the USA and the UK.
He said a big factor in the US industry is fewer grower-suppliers being able to keep up with big box demands (such as using shipping racks and pay by scan when sold to the end customer) and retailer demands that you service plants sold in-store.
Walmart dropped from 22 to 15 suppliers recently. Those discarded became contract growers or sought regional sales. Beytes added: "In the end, any grower who wants to compete with the US chain store has to be brilliantly good at all aspects of business, as well as being a good grower."
Beytes said issues that translate to the UK include shipping racks, which are like Danish trolleys but owned by growers rather than leased from Container Centralen, as in Europe.
He added that big box store Home Depot demands service for plants supplied. Lowe's uses a third party to do the same job, for which the grower pays.
Pay by scan is a system used by Home Depot in the USA through which the grower gets paid when the customer buys the plant at the till.
View from the USA
"As for independent garden centres and their relationship with growers, that hasn't changed in the US. There are fewer independent garden centres than 20 years ago and fewer small growers, too. In that market, the fear is that one of the big growers that got dropped by a chain store will start selling to independents. But those big guys are set up to sell truckloads, so that's not liable to happen."
Chris Beytes, editor, GrowerTalks