Have retailers been recession-proof this year?

HW asked speakers at the HTA Garden Futures conference to give their view.

Philip Evason, retail operations director, Haskins "I would not go as far as to say we are recession-proof but we have weathered the storm.

"Our location has helped. The high street has been clouded badly over the past 12 months. People want a different experience and somewhere to come out and shop, but not the cut and thrust of the high street.

"Society has changed in the past year and people are wanting to get more down to earth and to start growing more and bringing in family values. And the other side of our business, HobbyCraft, has also seen significant growth."


Caroline Owen, managing director, Scotsdales Garden Centre "We've had weather on our side. No one can say we have not been through a recession.

"We did a straw poll around our table at the HTA Garden Futures conference "secrets of success" dinner, asking what proportion of sales were down to the weather. James Barnes from Dobbies said 85 per cent, I said 70 per cent and Charles Notcutt said 75 per cent.

"We have definitely done grow-your-own in a very large way, offering consumers different products - and they have supported us with that."


Carol Paris, operations director, Garden & Leisure Group "We can't rest on our laurels and say that we're recession-proof but we have been very fortunate with the weather this summer.

"We have to work hard in the next couple of years. We can't guarantee we will get that weather again. It is a long road to economic recovery and we have to keep listening to customers and providing what they want.

"We have to remember we have no specific right to their custom."



Nicholas Marshall, chief executive, Garden Centre Group "The meltdown we were expecting has not happened in this industry. The weather has helped. The industry has come out pretty solid.

"We were close to a complete crisis - entirely caused by the banks. But then the bank gave us a £30m injection and halved our debt. We have a new management team and chairman. Sales are up seven per cent like-for-like in the year to date and plant sales are up 12.5 per cent.

"Our new gardening club has signed up 700,000 members in six months and we're training everyone through e-learning so we're all singing from same hymn sheet. That's our most important move."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next



Brightening up gardens in autumn, these daisies are seen as a gem in the gardener's arsenal, writes Miranda Kimberley.

What are the garden centre trends from the Glee trade show?

What are the garden centre trends from the Glee trade show?

Plastic, peat and glyphosate reduction, one-stop shop suppliers, slug control, shrub replacement, lawn fixing, solar technology and heat-loving plants such as agapanthus were among the top trends at Glee this year.

How is the garden product market responding to renewed pressure on glyphosate?

How is the garden product market responding to renewed pressure on glyphosate?

Shifts are taking place in the market for garden weedkillers in the UK

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Top 100 GARDEN CENTRES 2017

See our exclusive RANKING of garden centre performance by annual turnover plus the FULL REPORT AND ANALYSIS of the market drawing on our garden retail industry-exclusive research

Garden Centre Prices

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world

Read more Peter Seabrook articles

Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

Read latest articles


Free to subscribers, the essential guide for professional plant buyers

Download your copy