Exhibitors sign up to Garden Expo but keep faith in Glee

Garden Expo has signed up Fiskars and Sankey and the Stewart Company as event sponsors. But both companies will also be exhibiting at Glee and German garden trade fair Gafa in 2010.

Next year promises to be a battle between the established Glee and newcomer Expo, but many companies are sticking with Glee while also trying Expo.

Stewart Company chief executive officer Lee Mowle said: "We're still going to Glee and also Gafa. Expo is at the right time for us this year. We launch our propagation range in June."

The June show will give "two bites of the cherry" to reach European markets ahead of Gafa in Cologne on 5-7 September, said Mowle. He added that Expo, which is backed by export body Gardenex, had promised foreign buyers.

Mowle, who is sponsoring the Gafa export lounge, said: "We've identified Europe as a key market, especially with the Euro where it is." At the end of 2010, Stewart will review whether two UK shows was too much for the industry.

Stewart's sales to independent garden centres were 15 per cent up in 2009 after a slow start and it had record sales in April and May, Mowle reported. Stewart supplies 1,000 customers including Garden Centre Group, Dobbies, Wilkinson and Homebase with recycled flower pots, garden accessories, watering products, decorative planters and propagators.

Fiskars head of marketing Fran Kershaw said she will also exhibit brands at Glee in 2010. She reasoned that because other major brands were exhibiting at Expo it would be "remiss" not to try it out in its first year. "Glee has always been good for us over 20 plus years," she added. "We wouldn't want to not be there."

Both Fiskars Garden Tools, which includes the Sankey brand of water butts and cans, received "good" but unspecified deals to show at Expo.

Last week, HW revealed Hozelock was the first to announce that it is to sponsor next year's Expo, due to be held at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire on 26-28 June.

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