Specialist nurseries upset by price competition from B&Q

B&Q's presence and low cost products angers nursery owners at garden show.

Specialist nurseries have criticised B&Q’s sustained presence at the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show (14-18 June), saying it undercuts their value. The attack came from several nurseries, which said they felt the show should be reserved to promote the trade professionals. B&Q has defended its position, saying it encourages gardening. One nursery owner said prices on the B&Q stand had been a large contributory factor in his taking just two-thirds of the money he did five years ago. “It seems strange that B&Q is allowed to be at a premier show and sell so much at cut prices. I feel the RHS should be supporting the smaller nurseries,” he said. Joint partner Steve Langdon of plant producer Blackmore & Langdon said: “We are growers and breeders. [B&Q] is just buying in from elsewhere for cut prices and getting the sales from that product. “I feel [the organisers] should not allow it. The smaller nurseries cannot compete.” Joint owner Richard Ford of Suffolk-based Park Green Nurseries won his 49th RHS medal at the show when he picked up gold. But despite praising the show as “excellent”, he felt B&Q should not be at the event. He said: “People in the floral marquee are finding it increasingly difficult to sell compared with those who sell so cheap.” B&Q events manager Guy Burtenshaw said: “We don’t ever compete against specialist nurseries. All we do is get more people gardening, and that is good for everyone. Customers choose where to buy — not us.” RHS shows director Stephen Bennett said he sympathised with specialist nurseries competing with a big retailer.

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