UK Christmas displays lead way

US Independent Garden Center Show speaker John Connel, from UK-based The Garden Works, has said British centres are leading the way in Christmas displays.

Connel said his seminar at last week's Chicago Independent Garden Center Show proves that although "the US invented Christmas" the UK's "less is more" merchandising was the best in garden centres worldwide.

He said: "Consumers are being overwhelmed by choice. They are looking for the retailer to help them navigate. The UK has shown the US it is possible to take a more disciplined approach."

Connel said Garsons Farm in Esher, Surrey, for example, was "clean, commercial, shoppable and inspiring", and puts customers at ease because they have confidence that the retailer is in control.

He added that Homebase and B&Q had limited Christmas themes to around six - while some independent garden centres still had up to 80 - and that the UK was also ahead of the US in grow-your-own.

The "welly to belly" market is hot in the US, he said, but UK garden centre displays of kitchen gardening and potato bags were more innovative.

Garden designer Diarmuid Gavin, Jim Bradley from Mid Ulster Garden Centre and garden centre architect Gary Wilburn were also among the UK and Ireland contingent.

Connel added that he spent a day at Matterhorn Nursery in New York state, where a wine-tasting bar for local tipples impressed him.

He added that Pennsylvania centre Terrain at Styler's met the "emotional merchandising" benchmark that all UK centres should seek to achieve. The "garden-inspired lifestyle store" appeals to women and Generation X through its appeal to well-being.

The show attracted 3,267 buyers from 2,000 stores.

Show organiser Jeff Morey said demand for exhibitor space was 160 per cent of the size of last year's inaugural show.

Next year's Independent Garden Center Show returns to Chicago's Navy Pier on 18-20 August 2009.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

Garden centre profile: Hulme Community Garden Centre, Manchester

High environmental standards, community work and support for local suppliers are all lessons for the wider garden retail industry, Matthew Appleby discovers.

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

How can garden centres reduce plastic use?

Garden retailers are under pressure to use less plastic as the Government's new 25-year environment plan seeks to introduce a wave of measures to reduce pollution.

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

Will peat use be taxed or banned?

The Government has made strong statements on peat reduction in its new 25-year environment plan, published in January.

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. 

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