Tesco keeps it simple on bedding plants

Supermarket to stick to selection of colourful varieties category manager tells bedding plant conference.

Tesco fruit and horticulture technical category manager David Fryer - image: Tesco
Tesco fruit and horticulture technical category manager David Fryer - image: Tesco

Tesco will "never compete with garden centres" in selling bedding plants, Tesco fruit and horticulture technical category manager David Fryer told the HTA Bedding Focus conference last week.

He said: "Less is more and we need to make it easy and fast to shop - people don't come for a day-out at Tesco.

"Supermarkets are not the ideal environment for bedding plants and customers do not know much about the products."

Fryer added that a simple selection of colourful, high-quality, readily-available British-grown varieties will remain the focus of Tesco's bedding plant range.

Tesco stocks impatiens, lobelia, marigolds, begonia and pansies. It avoids novelties and unusual plants because they have no perceived greater value among Tesco customers.

Fryer added that bold colours were important, and that plants normally have more flowers than those in garden centres.

"Space to sell bedding plants is limited and customers don't always notice them," he explained.

"The product has to work hard to sell itself. We can't just put up signs directing them to it because we are limited on the amount of signage that we can have in store."

Tesco focuses on the high season in May with pack bedding and 9cm pots and has a very short autumn season. "We play it safe with seasonality," Fryer pointed out.

"Erratic weather makes selling bedding plants more difficult and if sales are slowing down, this can create issues with waste. We perhaps need to find more drought-tolerant plants in the future."

The supermarket needs to use suppliers that can fulfil its special requirements and provide high volumes very quickly, he added.

Tesco's plant sales

Tesco has 14.47 per cent of the supermarket share of bedding plants, but only 1.2 per cent of the total market share.

Bedding plants make up 15 per cent of Tesco plants, and only 2.5 per cent of Tesco horticulture, which is mostly flowers.

Bedding plants make up 0.03 per cent of Tesco sales overall.

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