Westland young stars progress

Westland Horticulture stars of the future have held another masterclass.

The Westland Rising Stars 2014 Programme held its second masterclass at Baytree Garden Centre in Spalding last week.

Participants went down to the shop floor with IBBIS facilitator Ian Boardman and took a practical lesson on merchandising, which gave hints and tips on how to increase sales and profits from every square metre and to ensure that customers have a great experience each time they visit. The Rising Stars must now continue putting their merchandising tips into practice and measuring the impact.

Boardman said: "They listen, soak up ideas and concepts and then go and try them with impressive results. Some are doubling or even tripling their sales already."

The Westland Horticulture/Garden Centre Association (GCA) programme is now in its sixth year.

This was the second of three masterclasses, which will be held throughout the year in which participants receive coaching and mentoring in different aspects of retail merchandising.

A total of 28 people started the initiative, but only 10 of the best will go through to the next round. The five most successful applicants from the year will attend the GCA Conference in Chester in January, where they will make a presentation on what they have achieved over the year. A winner will then be chosen by conference delegates before being presented with his or her prize at the GCA’s annual gala dinner on Tuesday 27 January 2015.

Westland marketing director Keith Nicholson said: "The Rising Stars Programme is all about developing the talent in the garden centre industry for its continued success. It is great to see them already putting their new found knowledge into practice at their own garden centres with great success.

"This is where the competition starts to get serious, as we will only be taking 10 through to the next round and ultimately only one will be crowned the Rising Star of 2014"

GCA chief executive Iain Wylie said: "It’s fantastic that Westland are supporting the development of young talent within our industry through their sponsorship of the GCA’s Rising Stars programme. The value of the programme can be seen through the enthusiasm of the participants. It has reached the stage where the competition is now hotting up. I wish all the ‘stars’ the best of luck in getting through to the next round."

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