HTA launches retailers' plan

The HTA's Retail Management Group has identified an action plan for the sector in its new strategy for garden retail 2009/10, called "Not Just When the Sun Shines".

The five key areas identified include "Pruning for the Downturn", which focuses on driving business efficiency through the use of Lean, Business Improvement Schemes, trading terms and conditions and improved electronic trading.

"Growing Sales for the Upturn" focuses on promoting the sector through the Plant For Life campaign, National Garden Gift Vouchers and providing marketing support to members with workshops and study tours. "Cultivating Staff" looks at training in conjunction with the HTA's Developing People Strategy, with the new Diploma in Garden Retail and promotion careers.

"Nurturing the Environment" looks at tackling waste and promoting the environmental benefits of gardening, while "Cutting Back Red Tape" focuses on lobbying as required to protect the sector.

The HTA will urge members to sign up to the BERR Prompt Payment Code and will develop recommended terms and conditions.

The report added: "The planteria can still be the 'poor relation' in many garden retail outlets and plant sales are lost as a result."

HTA Retail Management Group chairman Caroline Owen said: "Garden retailing, this year, has been a bright spot against a gloomy background for retail in general, but there is still the need to review your business and make sure it's in good shape for the future."

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