Large garden centres to get retail improvement forums

The HTA has responded to rising needs from larger retailers to improve business performance by setting up a Retail Development Forum for centres that turn over more than £2m a year.

Consultant Andy Campbell is chairing new groups in the North West, North East and South East, where members are meeting today (Thursday) at Coolings Nurseries in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Campbell will demonstrate the new web-based collation-and-exchange system, a new monthly trading report and a bespoke regional report derived from Garden Industry Monitor data.

HTA commercial services director Andrew Maxted said: "This recognises that our existing retail business improvement schemes are targeted at smaller to medium-sized centres and that larger garden centres need a forum to develop opportunities and share business problems."

Maxted hopes for 12 centres per group and more groups to cover the whole country. Meetings have also been held at Barton Grange in Lancashire and Brigg in Lincolnshire.

- HTA National Garden Gift Vouchers are going electronic. A pilot scheme for the £25m-a-year voucher system, which the HTA says is the single-largest UK promotion supporting gardening, is changing to an electronic card system. Maxted commented: "This will make the scheme a lot more efficient. It will be a more attractive option."

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