Retailers must advertise to boost sales, says seed firm

Poor merchandising and a lack of advertising is contributing to a fall in retail sales.

Garden centres’ sales are not increasing because they are failing to merchandise and advertise, according to a leading seed firm. Unwins head of marketing Keith Nicholson said: “Good merchandising is crucial if garden centres are to drive sales forward.” The firm has spent £500,000 on national advertising to drive the autumn bulb market (HW, 2 March). He added: “We are the only company committed to bringing new users into the bulb market by raising consumer awareness —advertising is the way to do that.” Unwins has created pre-pack display units in a bid to encourage retailers to merchandise more effectively. Merchandising manager Mark Taylor said: “These display units are simple and designed to drive volume — the industry needs to see more of this for other gardening products.” Trelawney Garden Centre marketing manager Kevin Roberts said garden centres are slowly waking up to advertising being essential for growth. He added: “It’s not just a case of throwing a few leaflets around. Garden centres must realise that they have to follow up advertising with events and in-store promotions.” The outlet, in Wadebridge, Cornwall, uses direct mail and radio advertising and has seen 10 per cent growth in the past year alone. Garden Centre Association representative Gillie Westwood is surprised Unwins believes it is the only firm pushing growth through advertising: “All our members are constantly keeping themselves in the press, doing events and being media savvy — possibly the smaller ones struggle more but that’s mostly a financial issue.”

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