QVC seeks garden suppliers to meet escalating demand

Shopping channel QVC has increased its range of garden suppliers by five times in the past year and is looking to take on more growers to meet demand.

Until last year QVC only used four suppliers but it has now increased that to 20 and hopes to attract more. Hayloft Plants, Thompson & Morgan, David Austin Roses and Raymond Evison Clematis were the original suppliers.

QVC's buyer on DIY and gardening Chris Gardner said growth had been continual since 2000 and the recession meant the channel was attracting more interest from price-savvy customers.

"We've had great growth and we are hopeful the channel's garden season will become a year-round business," he said.

At the moment the gardening-specific shows, presented by Richard Jackson, run from January to September. In 2006, the season didn't start until Easter, but it has increased in length since then. "By starting the season earlier we have got the experienced gardeners on board, as well as the fair-weather ones," said Gardner.

He added that the speed at which stock could be shifted was an attractive prospect for growers. "At QVC we can sell something in three minutes that would take a weekend to sell in a garden centre," he said.

QVC ran a suppliers' open day in October to increase its range of growers and it plans further recruitment and training for interested companies.

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