Garden centre sales hit by lack of grower input

Lack of control over the way their product is sold to the consumer is holding growers back from playing a clear role in their products' marketing in garden centres, the International Plant Propagators Society conference heard.

Plant producers must have a say in garden centre marketing to help boost sales says Tim Briercliffe - image: HW
Plant producers must have a say in garden centre marketing to help boost sales says Tim Briercliffe - image: HW

HTA business development director Tim Briercliffe told delegates at last month's event: "With many garden centres sourcing from up to 40 nurseries, that leaves each supplier with insufficient business to justify close involvement with the retailer."

That contrasts with other categories within the garden centre such as wild bird care products, where suppliers help with ordering, merchandising and promotion, he pointed out.

"Plant producers need to collaborate to be able to work more closely with retailers to work with them to drive sales," he added.

Briercliffe said the industry can carry on "hoping for good weather, positive media coverage and a favourable exchange rate or it can tackle the big issues that threaten the sector in the future".

A "culture change is required to avoid the spiral into commodity, low-margin production that leaves the sector vulnerable to market changes and competition", he added, while the most important challenge is "knowing your enemy".

Knowing your enemy - The top challenges facing growers according to Briercliffe

Competition Cheap imports, other UK nurseries and other leisure pursuits.

Customer demands Better service, quality and value. Products must enhance lifestyle and be easily accessed - online.

Costs Look for savings in transport, sales and input costs - including water, crop protection, plastic, fertiliser, growing media and staff.

Environmental More drought, new pests, diseases and weeds. Increased energy prices and fewer pesticides.

Skills Production horticulture is not attracting young talent.

Regulation On crop protection, water and soil management, plant health and growing media.

Innovation UK nurseries will have to "think smarter" to keep up with declines in research and development.

Supply chain management Product category sales plans need to be agreed between grower and retailer.

Transport and logistics UK growers need to seriously embrace collaborative working on transport.

Market information Pool resources on market intelligence.

Marketing and promotion Producers need to work together to reach the consumer using new technology - internet and mobile phones.

Skills A publicised commitment to training and development will also help, plus e-learning.

Innovation Collective research and development.

Forward-thinking production Fewer pesticides, less fertiliser, less water, sustainable growing media. Develop unique selling points to move from commodity production to premium product.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Horticulture careers - plugging the skills gap

Bespoke apprenticeships and internal training are helping firms to get ahead in skills-shortage horticulture, says Rachel Anderson.

Tractors: market roundup

Tractors: market roundup

Manufacturers are working to provide solutions to many challenges. Sally Drury looks at their newest models.



Brightening up gardens in autumn, these daisies are seen as a gem in the gardener's arsenal, writes Miranda Kimberley.

Opinion... Why no-deal Brexit should worry you

Opinion... Why no-deal Brexit should worry you

Whether you voted leave or remain all those years ago, a "no-deal" Brexit should worry you.

I will not be importing oaks this season. Will you?

I will not be importing oaks this season. Will you?

I find myself in a difficult situation. A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be present to hear details of imminent changes to regulations concerning Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) and oak trees. I heard details, asked questions and probed the implications of these changes. That may not sound like a difficult position to be in, yet I am uneasy.

Opinion... Better targets to tackle pollution

Opinion... Better targets to tackle pollution

Lobby groups jumping onto fashionable campaigns, often to promote their own interests, can do much more harm than good. Take, for example, the move against black polythene plant pots and containers.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +


The Horticulture Week Business Awards is now open for entries

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 60 Ornamentals nurseries

See our exclusive RANKING of ornamentals nurseries by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production

Read Tim Edwards

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles