Bunnings owner could exit the UK by June, says newspaper report
Retail giant Wesfarmers could abort its troubled invasion of the British Isles as soon as June after admitting it made serious mistakes when trying to transplant the successful Bunnings model to the northern hemisphere, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald...
Retail giant Wesfarmers could abort its troubled invasion of the British Isles as soon as June after admitting it made serious mistakes when trying to transplant the successful Bunnings model to the northern hemisphere, according to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Unveiling a $1 billion writedown of Bunnings UK and Ireland (BUKI) on Monday, Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott said he would not let the troubled business hang over Wesfarmers for "years and years and years" in the way rival Woolworths was haunted by its disastrous Masters Home Improvement experiment.
"We need to provide some certainty and clarity," Mr Scott said as he announced a review into BUKI's future due back in June and revealed its first half losses would blow out to about $165 million.
That writedown is greater than the $705 million Wesfarmers paid for the home improvement chain Homebase in 2016, which it planned to convert to the Bunnings brand and format.
The news sent Wesfarmers’ plunging 4.5 per to close at $42.34 - the biggest one day fall since October 2016, and the second biggest one-day drop in eight and a half years.
“I appreciate what we’ve disclosed today is terrible news, terrible news for shareholders," Mr Scott was reported as saying the Sydney Morning Herald.
He said that "all options" - including an exit - were on the table. However an exit was not the preferred option and it would have been premature to make that decision before the review.
"To shut the door on this today would be incredibly damaging to shareholders, particularly where the current level of losses are," Mr Scott said.
“This business was profitable two years ago, so we know that there is the capacity within this network when things are working to generate profitability."
In the meantime BUKI would try to improve sales at the remaining 231 Homebase stores.
Sales have suffered as Wesfarmers management alienated customers by removing important product categories and concession stores, and moving some to the Bunnings format.
Mr Scott said Wesfarmers had earmarked between 20 and 40 of the worst performing Homebase stores for possible closure.
The first 19 "pilot" Bunnings stores had seen some encouraging results, Wesfarmers said, but sales had suffered during the winter months when it did not have the right products. It was still searching for a "proof of concept" for the Bunnings format.
Five more Homebase stores are currently being turned into Bunnings, but Wesfarmers will not start any more conversions until the review is completed in June.
The full Sydney Herald report can be viewed at http://www.smh.com.au/business/retail/bunnings-uk-woes-deepen-with-1-billion-writedown-20180204-p4yze8.html
Gardman has acknowledged the company has experienced teething problems at its new £30 million custom-built distribution centre in Daventry but says it's confident it will cope with the busy Spring period.
The new centre was fully tested in Q4 2017 with a full “go live” date of 2nd January.
"Unfortunately, due to a lower than expected picking rate we have failed to meet our normally high service standards," said Pete Utting, Gardman's Chief Executive.
"This has now been solved by increasing our picker numbers and putting on a night shift to meet demand.
"This change has resulted in achieving our desired output. We will continue to build this capacity further over the coming weeks to counter any spikes in demand.
"We are confident we can catch up through February and then successfully meet the spring demand.
"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our customers and reassure them that the challenges have now been managed.
"The foundations for great service are now in place. The building is complete in the centre of the country, the system works, we have the right people, our stock build is bigger and earlier than last year and now we have achieved the output rates we need.
"My sincere thanks to all our customers for their patience and understanding.
"I would also like to thank all the Gardman staff and contractors who have worked tirelessly to get this problem fixed."
Top trends for 2018 are inspired by nature
GTN Xtra Promotion
Reflecting their passion for design and quality, Floralsilk launched their impressive Christmas Collection for 2018 with an exclusive collection of Christmas tree ornaments, wreaths, garlands, trees and wintery foliage and it was a great opportunity to see what the fashion will be for the year ahead...
Despite it only being February, every retailer knows that now is the prime time to plan ahead for Christmas 2018. This was demonstrated by the fantastic success of the Harrogate Christmas & Gift Fair earlier this year where emerging trends were clear to see.
Reflecting their passion for design and quality, Floralsilk launched their impressive Christmas Collection for 2018 with an exclusive collection of Christmas tree ornaments, wreaths, garlands, trees and wintery foliage and it was a great opportunity to see what the fashion will be for the year ahead.
Very in vogue and receiving huge interest was nature inspired tree trim. 2018 is clearly the year for ornithologists as bird themed decorations topped the table with the Christmas robin once again proving to be a best seller. Floralsilk’s new more ornate, jewelled and feathered birds were also highly desirable along with sparkle dragonfly clips, with the fashion for decorations on versatile clips and picks going strong accounting for three out of the five best selling items.
Another theme emerging for 2018 is the desire to bring a little bit of sparkle into our lives with shimmering baubles, glitter clips and sparkling foliage sprays and garlands proving incredibly popular. Floralsilk’s extended LED collection also confirmed this trend with their LED bauble garland, LED Starburst and outdoor Cone Trees all being very well received.
In terms of colour ways, despite the pantone colour for the forthcoming year being ultra violet, rose gold decorations were all the rage at the show selling across the board along with the more traditional gold and silver.
In keeping with going back to nature, one individual item in particular had a brilliant debut – the glass Land Rover tree decoration exclusive to Floralsilk. New for this year and available in three colours, this popular ornament depicting a car returning home with the family Christmas tree, caught the attention of many a retailer.
Moving on from Christmas and stepping into Spring, Floralsilk’s stunning 2018 floral collection will be on display at the Spring Fair at the NEC. As the buzz around replica flowers and plants continues, with many retailers growing their collections to keep up with consumer demand, Floralsilk is helping to drive this growth, with hundreds of new items launching at the Fair including pretty hand-tied bouquets, well-priced single stemmed roses & peonies and trendy hanging orchids.
Predicted trends for this year are attractive natural blossom arrangements in simple bottles giving that ‘freshly picked’ look and for that centrepiece feel, hydrangeas are bang on trend and make a great focal feature for any room.
As well as beautiful floral items, Floralsilk are also bringing new varieties of eucalyptus, lambs ear, ferns, smilax and ivy along with contemporary potted succulents, cacti and lifelike moss to the Spring Fair. ‘It seems consumers can’t get enough of our greenery’ says Managing Director, Liam O’Flaherty, ‘they are mixing our foliage and floral stems with fresh flowers to create their own authentic mixes’.
It’s worth placing your orders pronto if you want delivery in time for this year’s early Mother’s Day though as it’s only four weeks after the end of the Spring Fair!
Spring Fair, NEC, Hall 2, Stand 2F04
Good growth reported for Blue Diamond Group
The Blue Diamond Group has traded well again and delivered good growth in 2017, although the sales increase over the full year has been lower than in previous years and the first half of 2017, according to figures published in a shareholder announcement.
The Blue Diamond Group has traded well again and delivered good growth in 2017, although the sales increase over the full year has been lower than in previous years and the first half of 2017, according to figures published in a shareholder announcement.
Total sales rose by 6% with like for like sales growth, excluding Harlow and Coton Orchard, of 3%. Total sales in the UK increased by 7% with like for like sales growth of 4%. Total and like for like sales increased by 2% in the Channel Islands.
After a very strong first half of 2017, the second half of the year was more challenging. Sales were flat and customer numbers softened in the second half as the Group experienced the consumer slowdown reported by the likes of the British Retail Consortium, the ONS and many other retailers.
Nonetheless, during the year the Group outperformed the benchmark provided by the industry trade body the Garden Centre Association, both overall and in every key category except Christmas. We did not experience the significant trading problems evident in our major competitors. Average spend increased and margins were higher than 2016 across the year. Our gearing fell below 20% by the end of 2017.
We continued to improve our existing estate, with the redevelopments of St. Peters and Coton Orchard complete, as well as the first phase of Grosvenor. All these sites have seen good growth in 2017.
The redevelopments of Fermoys and Newbridge are now scheduled to start in the second half of 2018. We are progressing the planning applications for the redevelopments of Harlow and Fryers.
The fit-out of Bridgford started in November 2017 and we are on track to open in late March 2018. We are very excited about this new centre, which is targeted to deliver £10m of sales upon maturity and to be recognised as the finest, most innovative garden centre in the UK.
Chairman Simon Burke commented, "The second half of the year reflected tougher general conditions in the retail market, but we are pleased to report a good improvement in the performance for the year overall. The UK economy is decelerating as a result of Brexit uncertainty and real wages are falling, which are both having an adverse effect on the consumer and therefore the retail sector. Whilst we are well positioned to manage this, we are not immune and we are now expecting more modest underlying profit growth for the next couple of years. Nevertheless, we are continuing to progress our pipeline of new build opportunities and the progressive redevelopment of our existing portfolio, which should deliver strong returns in the medium to long term."
2018 could be a great year for gardening as early indications are that growing activity is at and all-time high, according to GTN Bestsellers.
Growing Media and Plant sales, both up by over 30%, lead the way as January gets the year off to a flying start.
GTN Bestsellers Top 50 sales volumes compared to the same week last year...
- Garden Products - up 29%
- Growing Media - up 26%
- Veg-2-Gro - up 2%
- Wild Bird Care - down 35%
- All Plants Index - up 56%
- All Items Index - up 8%
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email email@example.com
Plant sales up 32% for January
What a start for plant sales in 2018! January total plant sales volumes in the GTN Bestsellers EPOS data are up 32% on January 2017...
What a start for plant sales in 2018! January total plant sales volumes in the GTN Bestsellers EPOS data are up 32% on January 2017.
- Helleborus total sales jumped 144% compared to the same week last year.
- Primula sales grew by 71% over last year’s sales for the same week.
- Planted Narcissus stayed at No 2 with sales increasing by 60% year on year.
- All Plants volume sales change: Week on week UP 37.6%. Year to date UP 32.0% on 2017.
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email firstname.lastname@example.org
Zest 4 Leisure is increasing its workforce with the creation of numerous jobs at its warehouse and distribution centre in Saltney, near Chester.
The company is set to recruit a minimum of 20 people across a range of departments including:
- transport planners and administrators;
- warehouse administrators;
- warehouse and production operatives;
- general yard labourers.
The nine-acre site, which was purchased last year, is now officially up and running following a period of redevelopment.
Set in a well-established industrial location, the new site will also allow for additional job opportunities in the future to meet further planned expansion and the strategic development of the family owned company.
Commenting on the recruitment, Steve Morgan managing director at Zest 4 Leisure said: “Our new warehouse and distribution centre has given us the opportunity to increase our workforce which, in turn, will enable us to meet growing customer demand.
“It’s a great start to what promises to be a very busy 2018 and it marks yet another important stage in our company's growth. Of course, we are not stopping here and we look forward to announcing further developments across the coming year."
In addition to the warehouse and distribution centre jobs, Zest 4 Leisure continues to expand with the appointment of a new account manager Jim Brown, who will be responsible for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Previously, Jim was working for Thompson & Morgan, the well-known seed company where he spent over 10 years focusing on sales and customer support, covering a similar geographic area.
He will take over the area from Paul Haynes and Adie Lewis. Paul will now be concentrating on his role of Key and Group account manager and managing Zest’s ever growing group accounts whilst Adie’s role will expand further south.
Jim will be field-based and report to Alwyn Williams, head of Zest 4 Leisure.
Alwyn said: “It’s an exciting time for all here at Zest, we’re continuing to grow and recent developments mean that our team is continually expanding.
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome Jim to the company. He brings with him a wealth of expertise that I know will be invaluable at a time of increasing customer demand.”
LOFA (Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association) is focusing on raising awareness of fire safety standards/regulations for garden furniture cushions in a new campaign – LOFAssured.
One of the conditions of LOFA membership is that members must adhere to a code of conduct, part of which is compliance with all current legislation; it is this culture of propriety that the retailer and customer buy into when they source product from LOFA members.
LOFA appointed FIRA (Furniture Industry Research Association) and entered into a Primary Authority Partnership with HertfordshireTrading Standards to aid the members in their quest for full compliance. Members are now compliant or have compliance pending.
It is a condition of membership that all LOFA members are fully compliant; they will display the new LOFAssured logo on product and marketing material. The message to retailers and commercial and domestic customers is ‘look for LOFAssured products and buy from a LOFA member. Take comfort in being fully covered by the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 and 1993’ this will be promoted to retailers and consumers throughout the 2018 season and beyond.
LOFAssured (https://www.lofassured.co.uk/) will prove a distinguishing factor setting LOFA products apart from other non-compliant suppliers and members and buyers can check out the full compliance regulations so that throughout the supply chain, all are fully informed about the issue and the benefits of purchasing products from LOFA members.
For further information on the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association, call 02392 258844 or visit www.lofa.co.uk. (https://www.firesafe.org.uk/furniture-and-furnishings-fire-safety-regulations-19881989-and-1993.)
Photograph courtesy of Norfolk Leisure
Derived from the natural by-product of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, FLiPPER is a revolutionary, competitively priced, clean and green insecticide and an encouraging new advance in the agrochemical and biopesticide market.
FLiPPER is proven to effectively control aphids, whitefly, thrips, mites, psylla, leaf hoppers and scale with negligible impact on honey bees, bumblebees, pollinators, other beneficial insects – or humans.
In addition, FLiPPER:
- leaves no detectable residue
- can be used at any point in the growing season
- requires zero harvest intervals
- is entirely food safe
- is a fast-acting spray treatment giving lasting control of egg, larvae and adult insect life stages as part of an integrated pest management programme
- is currently awaiting official organic certification – but is certification body compliant
- has label approval for use on strawberries, tomatoes and cucumbers under protection and off label approval for peppers, chillies and aubergines. Further, more extensive and conventional label approvals are currently being processed
- is already widely and effectively used in the growing of organic fruit and vegetables in France, Italy, Greece and the Netherlands More than 175 fully replicated field trials have been conducted in multiple climatic zones to test FLiPPER®’s efficacy. Tests covered different methods of application and were trialled on queens, drones and worker bees, with no noted mortalities. Because of its profile, it is exempt from EU residue testing requirements. To view a short film demonstrating FLiPPER®’s effectiveness, please follow this link: https://youtu.be/w5IpRjzca8Y Continued over...
FLiPPER is currently exclusively available in the UK via the horticultural distributor Fargro Ltd.
About Alphabio Control:
Headquartered in Cambridge, Alphabio Control’s principal commercial office is in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia. Alphabio Control specialises in crop protection solutions developed from discoveries made at the convergence of natural chemistry and microbiology. Iain Fleming, one of four founding partners at AlphaBio Control, says: “The launch of FLiPPER® marks the culmination of several years of research.” Research director, Alfeo Vecchi, goes on to explain: “We have created a new process that allows us to extract the carboxylic acids present within a by-product and further distil it using only heat, without any chemicals, and produce FLiPPER®. We believe this presents an important development in the on-going challenge of finding solutions for safer agricultural products without further damaging the natural environment.”
Further information visit www.alphabiocontrol.com
GTN's Greatest Christmas Team Winners to be announced during Glee@Spring Fair
The votes are being counted and the judges meeting to decide who will be the winners in GTN's Greatest Christmas Awards, sponsored by Gardman, ready for the announcement and presentation of awards at a special Greatest Awards Winners Breakfast Reception on Tuesday 6th February in Hall 3 as part of Glee@Spring Fair...
The votes are being counted and the judges meeting to decide who will be the winners in GTN's Greatest Christmas Awards, sponsored by Gardman, ready for the announcement and presentation of awards at a special Greatest Awards Winners Breakfast Reception on Tuesday 6th February in Hall 3 as part of Glee@Spring Fair.
All of the nominated Christmas Teams and all of the winning teams from The Greatest Awards during 2017 are invited to join us at the Glee@Spring Fair Cafe in Hall 3 at 9:00am for a breakfast reception and the presentation of GTN's Greatest Christmas Awards, sponsored by Gardman, for 2017.
In this special issue we've included as many of the photo tours from the judges visits during the Christmas period as we can. There will be more published later this month. We hope they give you plenty of ideas and inspiration as you start to plan and buy your Christmas for 2018.
Ho, ho, ho! See you on Tuesday 6th February at Glee@Spring Fair.
Click here to read a special Greatest Christmas Awards Special edition of GTN Xtra, sponsored by Gardman
One of the UK’s leading nurseries was selected to provide trees to help secure the future of a woodland on the Malvern Hills in Herefordshire cared for by the Malvern Hills Trust.
Wyevale Nurseries in Hereford supplied the charity with 30 trees to plant in Thirds Wood, a small 15-acre parcel of woodland located on the western side of the Malvern Hills in between Pinnacle and Perseverance Hills.
Jules Griffiths, Transplants Division Sales Administrator at Wyevale Nurseries, said: “We have been supplying trees to the Malvern Hills Trust on and off since 2009 and are delighted they came to us to help with this conservation project. We provided 20 conifers - Picea abies and Pinus sylvestris and 10 Hornbeam - Carpinus betulus plus stakes and shelters.”
Thirds Wood was first planted around 1860 as a commemorative planting for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. Although originally planted with just conifers – dominantly European Larch with a small number of Scots Pine and Norway Spruce, it is now a mature, mixed wood as many deciduous broadleaf trees have grown up including Beech, Sycamore, Hornbeam, Holly and Ash.
Essential conservation work in Thirds Wood began in October to remove some of the over mature and weaker trees. The tree species selected for planting were carefully considered to maintain the character of the woodland that has been named by people in the area as ‘Little Switzerland’.
Jonathan Bills, Conservation Manager at the Malvern Hills Trust, said: “This is a key step in maintaining the character of this wood for local people and visitors to enjoy. Sadly, there is a ban on planting Larch, a dominant species in the woodland, due to the risk of a tree disease.
“However, we have chosen to plant three species already present within the woodland, including two evergreen species. Norway Spruce, Scots Pine and Hornbeam, these will keep that ‘Little Switzerland’ character and also provide habitat for species such as Siskins and Crossbills.
“Local residents, including county botanist Peter Garner, Colwall Parish Councillor, Gwyneth Rees and her husband Derek, and the Deputy Chair of Malvern Hills Trust, Sarah Rouse, all gathered at Thirds Wood on Friday, January 19 to plant the saplings. They will provide new growth and help to ensure the future of the woodland.”
Thirds Wood is owned by the Malvern Hills Trust and is covered by the 5 Malvern Hills Acts of Parliament. It is within the Malvern Hills Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Further planting is planned for winter of 2018/2019.
Horticultural nursery helps Haggerston Castle to bloom
A leading plant nursery has completed a three year long project supplying plants to a Northumberland Holiday Park. Johnsons of Whixley, a family-run horticultural nursery based in North Yorkshire, has supplied plants to two landscaping and construction companies as part of a major long-term project at Haggerston Castle.
A leading plant nursery has completed a three year long project supplying plants to a Northumberland Holiday Park.
Johnsons of Whixley, a family-run horticultural nursery based in North Yorkshire, has supplied plants to two landscaping and construction companies as part of a major long-term project at Haggerston Castle.
The first phase of stock included native trees, hedging, ornamental and specimen shrubs which was supplied to Brambledown Landscapes Ltd in Durham, who undertook the initial landscaping, between Autumn 2013 and Spring 2015.
The 200-acre nursery then supplied various phases of stock to P1 Solutions from Edinburgh who undertook the second phase of landscaping between February 2016 and Spring 2017. This included mature specimen trees, instant hedging, a large range of ornamental shrubs, grasses, heathers, and native structure planting.
Haggerston Castle Holiday Park is a caravan park which stands out from the crowd due to having a castle in the grounds. It is set around several lakes and is surrounded by beautiful scenery, as well as being close to beaches and castles.
Andrew Richardson, Joint Managing Director at Johnsons of Whixley, said: “We have a proven track record of supplying an excellent quality of products and services to businesses in the leisure industry and it was a pleasure to be a part of such a fantastic development at Haggerston Castle.
“Our current systems at Johnsons of Whixley contain over 45,000 stock variants which ensures that we can offer a solution for every scheme and budget.”
Andy Aitken, Operations Director at P1 Solutions, said: “P1 Solutions can confirm that Johnsons of Whixley have provided top quality plants and service on the two phases of work we have carried out at Haggerston Castle in 2016 and 2017.”
Johnsons of Whixley is one of the largest commercial nursery businesses in Europe, and supplies plants and trees to the amenity sector, alongside thriving Garden Centre Sales and Cash and Carry divisions.
Employees of Zest 4 Leisure are celebrating after raising over £21,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Team members from across the business went the extra mile by running, swimming and cycling, many pushing themselves to the limit in their fundraising endeavours.
Steve Morgan, Zest 4 Leisure’s Managing Director said: “We initially set ourselves the target of raising £10,000 but then changed it to £20,000 as we were doing so well, so to have exceeded our second target is a fantastic achievement.
“I am incredibly proud of all employees who took part in the various challenges across the year. It was tough going at times, but everyone persevered, and we are delighted to have raised so much money for such a deserving cause.
“I’d also like to say a big thank you to our customers nationwide, suppliers and friends of Zest for all their support.”
From the Flintshire 10k to the Chester and Manchester Marathons to IRONMAN Challenges, the team covered over 5,000 miles in 2017. Nine colleagues also undertook the “Walk All Over Cancer” 10,000 steps a day challenge, covering 1,350 miles in the process.
Louise Aubrey, Cancer Research UK’s Senior Local Fundraising Manager said: “Zest 4 Leisure has put in so much hard work and commitment to raise money for us and we are extremely grateful that the company chose Cancer Research UK as its charity for 2017.
“We can’t thank them enough for all their support and all employees should be so proud of what they have achieved.”
As a growing company, Zest 4 Leisure is committed to employee fitness and long-term well-being as well as supporting the community and raising money for charity. To that end, the company supplied training sessions four times a week in its warehouse in Mold throughout the year, with all staff committing to working as a team to support each other.
Steve added: “Being involved with the local community is very important to us as a business, so we were delighted that Ysgol Llywelyn and other schools which participated in the Rhyl Community of Schools Triathlon supported us by raising £3,000 for Cancer Research UK.”
In addition to Cancer Research UK, Zest 4 Leisure has previously supported a number of charities including Hope House Hospice, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Alzheimer’s Society and Meningitis Now. An announcement about the chosen charity for 2018 will be made shortly.
PlantWorks Ltd – Job opportunity
JOB TITLE: Territory Sales Manager / Account Manager
SELLING: Biofertlisers and plant stimulants
SELLING TO: Garden Centres, nurseries, distributors, and end users
TERRITORY: North of England and Scotland
PACKAGE: Competitive basic salary + OTE, car, laptop and mobile
An opportunity exists at Plantworks Ltd. for a Regional Sales Manger based in the North of England. Primarily to sell our expanding range of RHS endorsed retail products, centred round our popular rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi to garden centres and retail nurseries. The position would suit a person with a strong background in horticulture and or a good knowledge of the Garden Centre retail environment. The role is predominantly field based, though some working from home will be necessary.
The successful applicant will be responsible for maximising sales to existing accounts, developing new business as well as dealing with customer enquiries from retailers, landscapers, designers and professional horticulturists. The job also involves training garden centre staff on our range of products and some in store merchandising as well as close liaison with our head office admin team in order to provide unrivalled service and support.
- Highly self motivated with excellent communication skills and be able to work on your own initiative
- A background in garden centre retail with a particular interest in plants and horticulture
- Sales and Marketing or Horticultural qualifications would be advantageous
- Target driven, ambitious and eager to learn with a ‘can do’ attitude
- Personable and presentable
- Flexible to working week – overnight travel and occasional weekends
Remuneration will be a combination of basic salary and bonus, for the right candidate there is excellent career potential with a rapidly expanding company.
Please send your CV and any supporting information by email to:
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HTA Seminar – GDPR: How will it affect my business?
With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May 2018 the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is hosting a half day seminar for businesses on Wednesday 28 March 2018 to assist them with compliance...
With the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force on 25 May 2018 the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is hosting a half day seminar for businesses on Wednesday 28 March 2018 to assist them with compliance.
Whilst these changes are supplementary to the existing regulations it is very much designed to put data protection higher up the business agenda rather than treating it as an afterthought. Businesses need to ensure that they have a legitimate reason and consent for using data – giving individuals more control over their personal data.
The seminar, which will be held at Horticulture House, Chilton, Oxfordshire, follows on from a session on GDPR held at the HTA Marketing Forum last year and is open for members (£30) and non-members (£50) to attend. It will consist of two speakers along with a Q and A session in which delegates can ask questions specific to their businesses.
Catherine Ripley from solicitors Field Seymour Parkes will talk through how GDPR impacts on your organisation and the types of changes that need to be made to be compliant, with reference to loyalty card and membership schemes.
Edwin Meijer from Garden Connect, will explain what they have been doing to make sure all their activities are compliant and delegates can use their learnings as practical take homes to make the changes necessary within their own businesses.
These talks will be followed by a Q & A session in which delegates can ask specific questions to help them on the GDPR compliance journey.
Due to the interactive nature of this event places will be limited and so to find out more information and book your place visit www.hta.org.uk/events
On Saturday 17th March gardening guru Charlie Dimmock will officially open Squire’s new garden centre in Woking.
Charlie Dimmock rose to fame on the BBC’s Ground Force programme, and now presents Garden Rescue.
She will be at Squire’s in Woking all day on Saturday 17th March, so come and meet her and enjoy a day of fun-filled activities, including:
- Official Opening & Tree Planting
- With Charlie Dimmock and Squire’s Chairman Colin Squire OBE.
- “Grow Your Own Chips” Competition
- Watch Charlie Dimmock show local school children how to grow potatoes in pots. Children will take their pot home and see if they can grow more potatoes than Charlie! The children will bring their pots back to Squire’s in June for their potatoes to be weighed, and to get their potatoes turned into chips in Squire’s Café Bar!
- Gardeners Question Time
- Come and ask Charlie your gardening related questions.
- Spring Container Workshop
- Take part in a special one-off workshop run by Charlie Dimmock. She’ll show you planting methods, which plants to pick, and how to look after your container - which you can then took home and enjoy.
- Live Music
- The Panama Jazz Band will be performing throughout the day.
- Spring Colouring Competition for Children
- Children’s entertainment throughout the day
The significant extension at Squire’s in Woking has created an absolutely stunning new garden centre. There’s an inspirational plant area complete with outdoor canopy and a much bigger shop offering a wider choice of gardening products, gifts and furniture.
The Café Bar has also been extended - the indoor space has a light and airy feel, and the outdoor verandah is a beautiful place to sit and admire the plants. There is now a full waiting service so you can order from the comfort of your table, plus every Sunday in March there’s live music from a classical guitarist between 12.30pm-2.30pm.
All this investment is great for customers and it’s also good news for local employment, as Squire’s have doubled the amount of staff with 62 now employed versus 30 employees last year.
Sarah Squire, Deputy Chairman at Squire’s commented; “Our garden centre in Woking has been completely transformed yet still remains one hundred percent true to our horticultural heritage, retains its sense of place and is sensitive to its location and the surrounding area. A huge amount of work has gone into the re-development, and I want to thank everyone involved. We look forward to welcoming customers back and to meeting new customers and hearing what they think of our new garden centre. I hope that they’ll be amazed and excited like me!”
Certification stamps on all plants – Groen-Direkt’s Spring Fair
The 6th and 7th of February will see the traditional opening of the new gardening season at Groen-Direkt’s Spring Fair. New at this edition of the annual event will be certification stamps on all the plants and products, informing buyers about the products’ sustainability...
The 6th and 7th of February will see the traditional opening of the new gardening season at Groen-Direkt’s Spring Fair. New at this edition of the annual event will be certification stamps on all the plants and products, informing buyers about the products’ sustainability.
Stronger Focus on Sustainability
Groen-Direkt introduced the certification stamps at the beginning of 2018. “Sustainable entrepreneurship is a must in our days, and also for the future,” says Gert Koert, Groen-Direkt’s co-director. “It’s also what consumers want. So it’s important for us to show them how sustainable our products are.”
Together with the certification organisation MPS and Hogeschool In Holland (University of Applied Sciences), Groen-Direkt supports its growers in their efforts to ensure or improve their certification.
About the Spring Fair
The Spring Fair is the number-one international professional green fair of the year where garden centre managers, exporters and wholesalers from within and outside the Netherlands meet one another. Here, they find garden plants and houseplants, propagating materials and a wide range of Mediterranean products all under the same roof.
The fair also pays a lot of attention to the latest gardening trends and seasonal novelties. So all in all it’s the place to be for anyone who is professionally involved in creating green living environments. The Spring Fair is open from 7:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. on both days at the usual address in Hazerswoude, the Netherlands.
Garden lighting sales keep on shining
Another good week for garden product sales sees January GTN Top 50 volumes reach the highest level since 2015, up 22% on January 2017. And it is garden lighting that is the spark that is driving sales...
Another good week for garden product sales sees January GTN Top 50 volumes reach the highest level since 2015, up 22% on January 2017.
And it is garden lighting that is the spark that is driving sales. This week there are seven garden lighting lines in the Top 10.
- Premier Decorations Coloured Led Pull Light & Bulb holds onto the No 1 spot for the third consecutive week.
- Smart Solar Eureka! LED Frosted Lightbulb is the highest climber, up 26 places to No 6.
- Fito Drip Feeder For Orchids 32ml is the sole plant related product in the Top 5 at No 2. It is joined this week by the Fito Cacti Drip Feeder, a new entry at No 50.
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Black Russians are top tomato
Veg-2-Gro sales picked up last week to end the month 10% down on January last year, making it a below average start to the veg growing year...
Veg-2-Gro sales picked up last week to end the month 10% down on January last year, making it a below average start to the veg growing year.
A notable new entry this week is T&M’s Black Russian Tomato seeds, the highest placed of the seven tomato seed varieties in the GTN Top 50.
- Black Russian Tomato Seeds from T&M are a new entry at No 11.
- Taylors Onion Sets Stuttgarter stay at No 1 on the back of a 16% week on week sales increase.
- Mr Fothergills Beetroot Perfect 3 had the biggest week on week percentage sales increase to re-enter at No 27.
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Record January for growing media
January sales volumes of the GTN Bestsellers Top 50 growing media lines have reached a record high, driven by early bird offers that have really been taken advantage of by keen gardeners...
January sales volumes of the GTN Bestsellers Top 50 growing media lines have reached a record high, driven by early bird offers that have really been taken advantage of by keen gardeners.
January 2018 sees sales up 28% on January 2017 and 147% on the like for like sales seen in January 2014.
- Westland Jack’s Magic All Purpose Compost, 40 litres, is the highest re-entry to the Top 50 at No 17.
- Growth Technology Houseplant Compost, 8 litres, is the highest chart climber moving up 36 places to No 9.
- Sales of Scotts Levington Tomorite Giant Planter with Seaweed increased by 600% to re-enter at No 26.
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Looking for Christmas Ideas for 2018?
If you are on your way to Harrogate and wanting some extra input of ideas for your Christmas 2018, take a look at GTN's photo tours of 30+ garden centres this Christmas including:
- Aylett Nurseries
- Barton Grange
Blue Diamond Trentham
Fresh at Burcot
Frosts Woburn Sands
Haskins West End
Mains of Drum
Old Railway Line
Woodlands Ash, Kent
The best of last week's
If you missed last week's GTN Xtra, below are the most-read stories...
Much as usual, the dinner of the first evening of the GCA’s annual conference programme includes an invitation to turn up in fancy dress (optional). And also much as usual, most members and associates go for it big time, although some always go bigger than others, clearly as a matter of honour.
This year, in Stratford-upon-Avon, the theme was Shakespeare (it had to be didn’t it?), inspiring the appearance of a whole company of travelling players…Lears and Macbeths, Pucks and Bottoms, Richards and Henrys, Hamlets and Merchants, Ophelias and Juliets plus general heroes, villains and dreamers. A few touches of artistic licence here and there but hey, this wasn’t meant to be theatrical history lesson.
They even have a competition (brilliantly won by David and Madeline Eaton of The Solar Centre in the form of Titania and Oberon, with Matthew Bent as ‘Shakespeare’s Sister’ not far behind on the clapometer vote).
If you weren’t there, our Picture Gallery below will give you a hint of what the evening was about. If you were, take a bow!
Biggest business challenge? Automation without annoying customers...
Many delegates who sat attentively through the GCA conference session by behavioural economist Roger Martin-Fagg will have left the room believing they had at least a better idea of how our “inherently unstable” economic system works, even if much of what he was telling us whiffed of smoke and mirrors...
Many delegates who sat attentively through the GCA conference session by behavioural economist Roger Martin-Fagg will have left the room believing they had at least a better idea of how our “inherently unstable” economic system works, even if much of what he was telling us whiffed of smoke and mirrors.
But as layman’s guides go, this was a masterpiece in his usual incisive, light-hearted and often wickedly humorous style (last enjoyed at the conference in 2013).
Insisting he was in the businesses of illustrating scenarios, not forecasts, he gave us points like this to think about:
- 1. Only 4% of our economy exists as “real money” – the rest is electronic digits.
- 2. Banks are our biggest manufacturing business – they ‘manufacture’ money every time they led some to you.
- 3. Over 80% of bank lending is on property – only 10% on business development.
- 4. The UK money supply needs to grow 4-5% a year to create the 2% of economic growth in real terms the government seeks – a big ask, he said.
- 5. Growth of 1.5% was more realistic, because we are at full employment and are losing the advantages of EU labour.
- 6. Interest rates will probably go up twice next year – by 0.25% in both May and October.
- 7. Of all the major economies, the UK’s is growing the slowest, but it’s in the context of a global upswing led by US (+3%), the EU (+3.5%) and China (+8%).
- 8. Real incomes are falling due to the collapse of sterling after the Brexit vote.
- 9. The rate of retail sales is trending steadily downwards.
- 10. If the economy grows at only 1.5%, the weekly take base will drop by £350m and the government’s annual income will be 10% less than forecast.
- 11. A property tax will be the only acceptable way to raise income.
- 12. The biggest challenge for UK businesses will be how to increase automation (as the labour shortage begins to bite) without annoying the customers.
- 13. A hard Brexit will cause a sterling crisis and a recession, because confidence will crash and companies will immediately delay payments.
- 14. A soft Brexit is the most likely outcome because we are pragmatists and will fully align with EU regulations, accept the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, permit selective immigration control and pay a £45bn settlement over two years.
- 15. “The transition deal will be the future deal – we don’t really leave.”
The Smart Garden team scooped the prestigious GCA Associate of the Year award, proudly claiming the title as top supplier to the industry.
Delighted with the accolade, Sales Director Paul Knott comments “To be rewarded by our customers with such a significant award is an honour. We are over the moon to be recognised in such a way and will be working hard to ensure that we retain the title."
Managing Director, Jonathan Stobart, adds “This award is a testament to the hard work from everyone in the Smart Garden team and is proof of how well our new Eureka hub is working, with record despatches, up more than 50% on last year and 99% on-time availability."
To find out more about Smart Garden’s market leading product offering visit www.sgpuk.com
Veteran gardening columnist and broadcaster Peter Seabrook is urging garden centres to take part in a nationwide June rose promotion, following the demise of the Royal National Rose Society last year.
“The RNRS is in liquidation and nobody seems to be doing anything about it,” he told his GCA Conference audience. He has proposed a Rose Festival Week, in the third or fourth week of June, in which centres would mount displays and run a competition in which customers would be invited to submit single stems of their best roses, possibly using social media. “It would create a lot of chatter at a time when sales are just beginning to slow” he said.
The RNRS had championed roses at its spectacular Gardens of the Rose at St Albans for more than 50 years. The society went into administration last May after its debts topped £86,000.
Interested centres should contact Peter at this address.
Every week GTN receives and analyses epos data from a number of UK garden centres to produce the GTN Bestsellers charts and weekly bestsellers sales tips.
The full charts which provide useful insight into product sales peaks, new trends and new link sales opportunities are published in the weekly GTN Xtra newsletter.
As the year goes on we give sales volume comparisons with 2015 as well as 2016 to allow your teams to see variations over a three year period.
Access is by subscription only. For £145.00 per year you and your team can have access to the most up-to-date gardening sales analysis that has already helped many UK garden centres increase their sales. To subscribe call 01733 775700, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or buy on-line using this link.
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GTN Bestsellers is the only industry source of weekly garden centre sales information, collating Epos data from centres with an aggregate turnover in excess of £100m.
Use the weekly Garden Products and Growing Media Top 50 sales volumes charts to plan your hotspot and other promotions and ensure you have the right products in stock to satisfy the needs of your customers.
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All the latest news from the world of garden centre catering
Demand for speciality coffee grows at Stewarts
After introducing the Shutelake range of speciality coffee just under two years ago at the three Stewarts garden centres, demand has increased to a point where takeaway packs have now been introduced...
After introducing the Shutelake range of speciality coffee just under two years ago at the three Stewarts garden centres, demand has increased to a point where takeaway packs have now been introduced.
Ivan Harris started Poole-based Shutelake Coffee with his family following seven years’ experience in the coffee industry and now supplies a variety catering outlets across the UK.
Linda Sessions, Catering Manager at Stewarts, said that whilst its obvious that there is a huge demand for well-made coffees in the UK, the introduction of the blends, including decaffeinated, has boosted sales within the Garden Centre cafes.
“Ivan has packaged the popular Olney Blend as a retail product after requests from customers to be able to make their own at home. We urge customers to recycle the used coffee to help grow their plants as its full of Nitrogen which is great for plants but not liked by slugs and cats,” said Linda.
“The coffee is also enjoyed by our gardening guests annually at our hospitality centre within the New Forest Show.”
Shutelake also provides the barista training for Stewarts 80 catering staff and provides essential dosing and quality checks on the coffee machines.
Stewarts are also withdrawing its takeaway cardboard cups as part of their contribution to recycling initiatives.
Adande launch refrigerated, open front grab & go cabinet
Adande Refrigeration will launch its new refrigerated, open front grab & go cabinet on stand 1449 at Hotelympia, ExCel London, on 5 - 8 March 2018. The Aircell ‘Sarma’ model will be fully operational on the stand, allowing visitors to gain first-hand experience of its food to go focused features and benefits...
Adande Refrigeration will launch its new refrigerated, open front grab & go cabinet on stand 1449 at Hotelympia, ExCel London, on 5 - 8 March 2018. The Aircell ‘Sarma’ model will be fully operational on the stand, allowing visitors to gain first-hand experience of its food to go focused features and benefits.
The ‘Sarma’ integral multi deck incorporates unique and patented Aircell technology, which significantly reduces cold air spillage from the cabinet. It is particularly suited to harsh environments, such as stores with cross draughts and higher ambient conditions, which have a detrimental effect on the performance of conventional cabinets. The reduction in cold air spillage provides important food to go focused features, including a significant reduction energy consumption for cost savings, tighter holding temperatures for fresher food over extended periods and a warmer store ambient temperature for improved customer comfort levels.
The Aircell ‘Sarma’ cabinet is ideal for busy grab & go outlets, where simple and speedy access to food to go is essential. It delivers all of the benefits of conventional open front cabinets, as well as the energy saving characteristics associated with glass door cabinets, to provide the customer with an improved and convenient shopping experience.
The 1250 mm cabinet has four shelves and a base, providing a large display area relative to footprint. The large merchandising capacity ensures that there is more product on the shelves, with the opportunity to display a broader menu offer. This reduces the potential for shelf stock being exhausted and consequent lost sales, especially during periods of peak trading. It also reduces the frequency of shelf restocking.
As standard, Aircell ‘Sarma’ is offered in a stainless steel finish, with optional powder coated finishes also available. The cabinet may be supplied with solid end walls with mirrored interiors or panoramic glazed end walls. Additional features include adjustable shelving, EPOS ticket strips and a variety of LED lighting options. The cabinet has been designed to operate on environmentally friendly refrigerants in keeping with industry trends and preferences.
Aircell ‘Sarma’ has been developed specifically for the food to go sector and is the result of extensive laboratory and field testing. During a recent in-store trial at a food hall, over a three week period, energy consumption of a prototype Aircell grab and go cabinet was measured as 53.6% less than the store’s existing open front multi deck display. This reduction in energy consumption represents an annual saving in electricity costs of £660.65. Furthermore, the company claims that had a night blind been deployed on the Aircell unit, as it was on the existing cabinet, the calculated adjustment of reduced energy consumption would have been 57.9%, representing a £714.13 annual saving.
During the same trial, air temperature was measured to a bandwidth of 3°C in the Aircell prototype cabinet, compared with an average range of 13°C in the store’s existing open front multi deck. The narrow temperature range of the Aircell cabinet helps to maintain the quality and fresh appearance of food to go, providing a more enjoyable eating experience for the customer. It also reduces the amount of food which may be price discounted or wasted through deterioration in quality or appearance.
The company’s Managing Director, Ian Wood, stated:
“We have been very encouraged by the laboratory tests and field trials of the Aircell grab and go cabinet. Hotelympia represents the official unveiling of the Aircell ‘Sarma’ model, which is now commercially available to food to go operators.”