Sales balance out for Gardman

Supplier Gardman says tough season not a concern thanks to how seasonality is flattening out.

Gardman has said that a "tough" sales season is less of a worry because "seasonality has flattened out" for the £80m turnover garden product supplier.

Managing director Tim Stainton said: "If we have a dip in April and May, we might get an increase in August and September. Peaks and troughs are not as painful anymore.

"We can't say we're bucking the trend. Categories in April and May were behind where we needed them to be, but we had our strongest ever March. Core gardening has had a tough season, but bird care is driving ahead."

He added: "I'm not concerned. We hope to get that extension. We have our biggest autumn deals and pet care is out this autumn."

Gardman was due to show up to eight garden centre buyers its ranges for 2013 at its showroom every day for two months from the third week in May.

Pet care is the big new launch. Stainton said he expects the new category to be in 100-150 garden centres in the first six months. The 250 products reach garden centres on 1 August.

He added that independent garden centres have said they would prefer to deal with one pet care supplier rather than six or seven for 8-10m of shop space.

Stainton said the category is sold the same as bird care with category management, pre-season terms and low minimum orders. The bird care range has seen a 40 per cent rise above forecast for June thanks to poor weather.

Marketing director Jane Lawler said the category is seeing greater competition, after Westland bought Cranswick for £18m in April, but Gardman has not lost any accounts.

Stainton said Gardman products, particularly water features launched at Glee 2011, were doing well at B&Q, which has doubled its sales in the category since taking the range.

Business strategy

Tim Stainton, managing director, Gardman

"We still feel centres need new products and investment. Our sales team and agents don't focus on putting too much stock in. We'd rather sit on stock. We have mixed pallets, low minimum orders and weekly deliveries in small quantities. People can order less, more often. Quantities on promotions were too 'toppy' for smaller centres so we've cut minimums."

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