"Keep spending" on your brand, urges HTA president

HTA president Andrew Richardson president's address to the garden industry leaders' conference last week urged growers, retailers and manufacturers to keep spending on brand-building despite the economic downturn.

Richardson said: “If this industry believes that there is life after recession, and I certainly do, then we too should be investing.

We should run effective promotional schemes to encourage people into the garden centres and to buy plants. We should also maintain the investment in our brands, whether of supplier’s product or retail outlets.”

“We know it’s been resilient in the past downturns and that people do retreat into the sanctuary of their gardens and don’t go on holiday or buy the new car.

We’re already seeing the benefits of this in the way in which sales of plants are holding up well, and on top of this the particular strength in edible seeds and plants.”

Richardson said EU money for the Plantsforlife campaign would help.

The HTA has dropped its annual conference for a series of smaller events. Richardson said more than 400 people had attended HTA conferences and more than 600 have attended the parallel programme of masterclasses and workshops this year. Around 100 were at the leaders’ event.

Former HTA president Ken Crowther received the Pearson Memorial medal at the event.

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