Horticultural Trades Association issues retail strategy to garden centres

The HTA's Retail Management Group has identified an action plan for the sector in its new Strategy for Garden Retail 2009/10 'Not Just When the Sun Shines'.

The five key areas identified are:

  • Pruning for the downturn 
  • Growing sales for the upturn
  • Cultivating staff
  • Nurturing the environment
  • Cutting back the red tape

The report states: "To ensure improved cashflow for suppliers and improved supplier/retailer relationships", the HTA will encourage members to sign up to the BERR Prompt Payment Code and will develop recommended industry standard terms and conditions for trade.

The Garden Industry Monitor (GIM) "will evolve to provide more in-depth data on purchasing practices of consumers alongside the core market data collection and regular reporting of retail sales, from the web-based RBIS and RDF data collection facility, to enable sound business planning".

Garden retailers should use the HTA's GIM Retail MAP product to identify homes within their catchment where spend could be increased and use marketing such as email, texting, websites and social networking as well as linking with schools and communities to build customer base.

The report adds: "The plantarea can still be the ‘poor relation' in many garden retail outlets and plant sales are lost as a result." The HTA recommends its Plantarea Masterclass and Workshop programme, and will implement a new plant of the month campaign next year.

The HTA will also develop an Effective Garden Centre Marketing toolkit and workshop to help garden retailers build on community links, local sourcing and environmental messages.

The report finds typical garden centre sector sales in 2009 are:

  • Plants 22%
  • Garden sundries 18%
  • Home/gifts/Christmas 17%
  • Catering 15%

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