Sell-off cash is critical to WGC's survival
GTN Newshound sticks his nose into the latest accounts
Woof woof! GTN Newshound here, with insights gleaned from the latest Wyevale Garden Centres accounts. Looks like they're relying on more cash from the sell-offs to keep them afloat...
Woof woof! GTN Newshound here, back from yet another foray through the dark afforested territory known as Wyevale Garden Centres. Yes, hound-lovers, it’s still there, despite the best efforts of its parent, Terra Firma, to find good homes for everybody.
Although the two sets of 2017 accounts published recently (one for WGC Capital, the trading arm, and the other for WGC Holdings, the real estate and employment contracts arm, with neither set available, as they used to be, on the WGC website) are as impenetrable as corporate accounts inevitably end up (unless you’re an FD), these steered my moist little scout-snout towards what you could call ‘insights’.
The accounts themselves, which show a loss for the year-ended December 2017 of £116m and an operating loss for the year of £60.4m (mostly one-off write-downs of the value of non-cash assets), include ‘post-accounts’ financial statements chronicling the fortunes of the group during the following year, in which Terra Firma’s Guy Hands announced (on 22 May 2018) that WGC was for sale.
Companies House rules dictate that large businesses must make honest and, as far as possible, accurate declarations about their forward viability.
Under the ‘going concern’ sub-heading, the notes are pretty unequivocal about the cash flow risks the group faces unless it continues to find buyers for its remaining 99 garden centres.
The directors seem pretty happy with ‘Wyvexit’ so far, having realised £183m from the sale of 43 sites (excluding the six latest disposals to British Garden Centres and Rochmills). They are apparently also cheered by interest from potential purchasers of the rest of the group as an entity.
Debt has come down and there’s cash in the bank (£17.6m plus £2.7m cash in transit). Enough, then, barring unforeseen mishaps, to help the group meet its liabilities and keep a hound’s tail wagging softly (if unenthusiastically).
But then comes the warning about “material uncertainty” caused by the ongoing sell-off , potential Brexit issues, the weather-related volatility and unpredictable consumer sentiment. These, says the statement, “may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore, to continue realising its assets and discharging its liabilities”. The statement makes it clear that the key requirement is that future disposals are successfully concluded.
In other words, it looks like the WGC ship is sailing much closer to the wind than the directors would wish.
Despite this, credit analysts Experian upgraded WGC’s credit risk rating to “below average” last week. Newshound asked three suppliers for their reaction to that news. They said:
- “We’ll see…”
- “They’re tough, but they always pay.”
- “We don’t supply them any more. We probably got out in time.”
No-one wished to be named.
So there we have it, my little hound followers. Woof woof! from your loyal servant.
Treadstone Products enjoys success at GCA conference
GTN Xtra Promotion
2018 was a successful year for Wrexham-based Treadstone products, with double digit sales growth in its Good Life garden sundries range, high demand for its Peter Rabbit children's garden range (no doubt boosted by the motion picture release) and the launch of its new garden glove range, ClipGlove, at Glee...
2018 was a successful year for Wrexham-based Treadstone products, with double digit sales growth in its Good Life garden sundries range, high demand for its Peter Rabbit children's garden range (no doubt boosted by the motion picture release) and the launch of its new garden glove range, ClipGlove, at Glee.
"Following the success of last year, 2019 has already been packed with activity" says Dean Winters, Treadstone's Head of Brands. "Since the start of the year, we have moved offices and warehouse operations to allow for our planned business growth, launched a new website and attended our first GCA conference as a new associate member."
Showcasing their new ClipGlove range and increasing retailers’ awareness of their broader range were the primary objectives of attending the GCA conference and it seems the event proved to be a great success.
"There's certainly been a lot of turmoil in the market over the last 12 months and retailers are looking for new suppliers to add a point of difference to their offering or just as a back up to existing ranges" says Winters.
"Retailers have been very keen to talk about the new ClipGlove concept and were looking forward to working with all our customers - new and existing - during the coming season."
Retailers interested in working with Treadstone Products can contact the company on 01978 664 667 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, visit www.treadstoneproducts.com.
Make hay while the sun shines, says GTN Bestsellers
A period of sunny, warmer weather that will spark daffodils into flowering could be great news for garden centres. After the first snow a few weeks ago the GTN Bestsellers All Products index is holding just above last year. A few good weeks to end February will set us all in good stead for March...
A period of sunny, warmer weather that will spark daffodils into flowering could be great news for garden centres. After the first snow a few weeks ago the GTN Bestsellers All Products index is holding just above last year. A few good weeks to end February will set us all in good stead for March.
At present the Met office is forecasting that “temperatures should remain around or a touch above average” through to the end of the month. Then for March they are forecasting Atlantic weather rather than the drastic Beast from the East that set in last year.
A normal March that could see plant sales grow steadily will be more than welcome!
GTN Bestsellers Top 50 sales volumes compared to the same week last year (week 6)
Garden Products – down 11%
Growing Media – down 16%
Wild Bird Care – up 5%
Veg-2-Gro – down 2%
All Plants index – down 11%
All Items index – down 2%
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email email@example.com
Vitavia greenhouses bring life to the garden
GTN Xtra Promotion
Vitavia Garden Products Ltd is the British partner of the Vitavia Group, which is the leading name throughout Europe for quality hobby greenhouses and greenhouse accessories...
Vitavia Garden Products Ltd is the British partner of the Vitavia Group, which is the leading name throughout Europe for quality hobby greenhouses and greenhouse accessories.
From our warehouses in Suffolk, we provide home and trade deliveries throughout the UK together with a comprehensive greenhouse installation service. We are proud to supply quality hobby greenhouses, widely regarded as being the best value for money, backed up by exceptional customer service.
Benefits of owning a greenhouse
A greenhouse should be seen as a way of extending the growing seasons, creating a small micro climate of its own. In the UK we are very restricted by the elements and unpredictable climate change. A greenhouse simply allows the gardener to shut the door on the weather and maintain those ‘perfect growing’ conditions. A greenhouse enables us to grow fruit and veg which previously had to be overlooked because they would never survive.
What sort of things can I grow?
The beauty of a greenhouse is you are no longer restricted to what you can grow. The majority of fruit and vegetables not only grow but thrive in the conditions a greenhouse offers. Of course, you are not just limited to fruit and veg; a greenhouse can give you a head start on your spring flowers by planting them in the winter months.
Which greenhouse should I buy?
As well as the practicality the greenhouse provides, the right greenhouse can be an attractive addition to any garden. A greenhouse which is well maintained can add an element of colour and interest to the garden.
One of the many benefits of the Vitavia range is all the greenhouses are available in either powder coated green or anodised aluminium. But “What is anodised aluminium?” we hear you cry! Well, anodisation is the process by which aluminium is preserved in pristine condition. The oxide layer which forms on aluminium alloys is thickened through anodisation to increase corrosion resistance and surface hardness. Tougher, longer lasting frames are obviously a key benefit for a structure which has to withstand the vagaries of our climate.
Vitavia offers the complete range
From absolute beginner to accomplished professional, whatever type of gardener you are, Vitavia has something to suit you. From a Gaia cold frame, to many sizes of Ida wall garden, from greenhouses in many styles and sizes (6x4 to 8x20) to garden room styled greenhouses, we have it covered.
As the grow your own philosophy continues to gather momentum, there has never been a better time to buy a greenhouse. With a wide range of quality products at affordable prices, suitable for every situation, Vitavia has become the first choice for gardeners when selecting their greenhouse.
A Vitavia greenhouse makes growing your own easy and every sale is backed by our total commitment to customer care. The range has been developed by an expert team and our products are manufactured in the dedicated Vitavia factory under strict quality guidelines. We have a network of retailers throughout the UK. To find your nearest retailer simply visit our website, alternatively you can phone or email us and our friendly customer services team will be happy to help.
“Above all, the greatest joy of owning a greenhouse is that feeling of stepping into your own private world, leaving the weather and your worries behind you.”
For more information and all the latest news, visit us at www.vitavia.co.uk or call 01473 218100.
The deadline to find the 2019 Westland Rising Stars is looming.
Each year Westland and the Garden Centre Association (GCA) search for the best up and coming employees at garden centres who show great potential and would benefit from the opportunity to further their skills and experiences as part of the Rising Stars Program.
Nominations are open now until to Friday February 22nd 2019 so candidates don’t have long left to enter.
Applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges who will decide on 10 finalists. The finalists will then attend a series of four workshops held by Gordon Emslie GCA inspector, designed to further their knowledge of the horticultural retail industry.
To be eligible, candidates should hold a position up to junior management level, have access to financial data including sales and cost prices, be able to develop a sales or marketing idea for growing an area of the business and, perhaps most importantly, should demonstrate a drive and commitment that they wish to be developed.
For more information, and to download an application form, please visit www.gardenhealth.com/rising-stars-2019.
Saddle up for Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Ride
Greenfingers Charity is inviting its supporters and others to put their pedal power to the test this spring by taking on the inspiring Cycle Challenge for Garden Re-Leaf Day...
Greenfingers Charity is inviting its supporters and others to put their pedal power to the test this spring by taking on the inspiring Cycle Challenge for Garden Re-Leaf Day.
The cycle event, which was launched as part of the Garden Re-Leaf roster of events in 2018, is making its return in 2019, taking place on Friday March 22. Perfect for cycling enthusiasts, and those who want to push themselves to their physical and mental limits, the cycle challenge offers a 25, 50, 75 mile and 100-mile routes.
In 2018 15 intrepid cyclists took on the challenge, with representatives from Taylors Bulbs, Mr Fothergill's, Hozelock, Briers, Poplars Garden Centre, Durston Garden Products, Kew Green Hotels and Elho all saddling up in the name of Greenfingers. Matt Jackson, of Mr Fothergill’s was first across the finish line having completed the 100 miles route. Ian Clark from Taylor’s Bulbs completed his 100 miles in an impressive seven hours, raising over £400, whilst Hozelock’s Chris Ramsden cycled the full distance of 100 miles, the first time he has cycled that far.
Talking about the 2018 event, Chris Ramsden said: “I’d recommend the Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge to anyone who wants to give something back and support a great cause. Achieving such a distance, and all in the name of charity, makes it such a meaningful experience. I was keen to find out if I could go the distance, literally, and I made it! Knowing that the effort would be worth it; that children’s hospices would be benefitting from the work of the Greenfingers charity as a result of the money raised from not just my efforts, but all of those who took part in Garden Re-Leaf Day, made it all so worthwhile. So, what are you waiting for, sign up now!”
Linda Petrons, Director of Fundraising & Communications: “We are delighted to see the Garden Re-Leaf Cycle Challenge return for its second year. We had great response to the event in 2018, and hope to welcome even more riders across the finish line come March 22nd. The full 100-mile challenge is certainly not for the faint hearted and will require grit and endurance to get to the finish line. This challenge will also be fun and is great way of doing something for yourself and achieving a personal goal, whilst raising money to bring the gift of a garden to children in hospices across the UK.”
Those interested in taking on the Garden Re-Leaf Cycle can register by visiting https://www.greenfingerscharity.org.uk/gardenreleaf/register-for-the-cycle-challenge and completing a short form.
If you want to find out more about how to get involved in Greenfingers Garden Re-Leaf Day 2018, whether by putting on events in your garden centre, through sponsored solo activities or simply by donating - contact the Greenfingers office on 01494 674749 or email Linda@greenfngerscharity.org.uk.
Forget crowded summer getaways. Turn your garden into the perfect family retreat with beautiful outdoor furniture, amazing BBQ’s and garden lighting no matter your style or budget.
This vision came to life at the Klondyke Group’s recent Garden Furniture and Outdoor Living Showcase event, which took place at Houghton Hall Garden Centre at Carlisle.
The showcase presented Klondyke’s main Outdoor Living themes for 2019 and display techniques, alongside core product lines. The showcase featured furniture, barbecues, firepits, parasols, outdoor lighting and play equipment and showed the garden centre’s Outdoor Living teams the exciting new developments in design, environmental manufacturing, merchandising and product innovation.
Themes had been arranged around garden dining, with Tapas, Gin Fizz and Fiesta amongst those on display.
Several suppliers exhibited at the showcase, including Lifestyle Garden, Leisuregrow, Supremo, Norfolk Leisure, Weber, Landmann, La Hacienda and Smart Garden.
Klondyke’s Furniture Buyer Suzanne Gorst organised the show and commented “Our 2019 event has showcased our themes and ranges to our Outdoor Living Teams and set the scene for the year ahead. The Showcase has been an ideal platform to present a fantastic array of stimulating ideas and inspiration and we are delighted with the positive feedback from all those who attended.”
The Pot Company is offering its customers a range of striking Chinese vases for those seeking an entirely one-off feature for an outdoor space.
The unique Yakuta Water Jars are crafted in China and finished with a hand-painted glaze, meaning each and every pot sold to clients is different in both colour and texture.
Available in a range of sizes from small pots to huge urns in greens, yellows, blues and browns, the vases are quickly becoming popular with garden designers.
The leading supplier of pots and planters can now offer the collection with an exclusive 20% price drop.
Katie Weller, of The Pot Company, said: “For those wanting something completely unique for their outdoor space, these stunning water jars are made and hand glazed in a remote area of central China so customers can be certain, no two are exactly the same.
“Some of the jars stand at 160cm tall, making them impressive as well was unique! We are now able to offer the collection at a reduced price after negotiating with our suppliers which we are pleased to be able to pass onto our customers.”
There is no minimum order on this range with RRPs starting at £175.20.
The Pot Company has over 30 years experience in supplying garden industry professionals and stocks 30 ranges and 150,000 pots at their warehouse in Lamberhurst, Kent.
If you require further information on the Yakuta Water Jar range, contact the team at the Pot Company on 01892 890 353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RHS celebrates half a million members
This week the Royal Horticultural Society celebrated reaching a record half a million members, suggesting the UK’s leading gardening charity is now more accessible and relevant to people than it has ever been in its 215-year history...
This week the Royal Horticultural Society celebrated reaching a record half a million members, suggesting the UK’s leading gardening charity is now more accessible and relevant to people than it has ever been in its 215-year history.
RHS Director General Sue Biggs says: “We’re delighted to reach a milestone 500,000 members because it marks progress towards achieving our goal to enrich everyone’s life through plants and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
“We’re fiercely committed to getting as many people gardening as possible because of the immense positive difference plants and gardens have on our health and the environment. It’s now more important than ever that more people recognise the role plants play in reducing the impact of some of the biggest challenges facing us today.”
In 1804, when the then ‘Horticultural Society of London’ was formed to promote and inspire people to garden, its seven founders aspired to build a membership of 28. In 1861, the annual joining fee cost five guineas, which is the equivalent of £4,100 today.
An annual RHS membership now costs from £47 and as more young people are becoming aware of the value and life-enhancing qualities of gardening and being around plants, RHS Student Membership, which costs £10, has grown 136% since 2015.
Every year, more than 2 million people visit RHS Shows and Gardens, 6 million children interact with nature through RHS Campaign for School Gardening, 300,000 volunteers take part in RHS community campaigns and 20 million people visit the RHS website every year.
“We’ve made considerable progress since we started but there is still much to do and we have many challenges but are very keen to boost diversity in gardening, so we’re now doing more than ever to engage young people with growing plants, and to promote horticultural careers,” adds Sue.
The RHS relies on the support of its members to deliver its charitable work which includes carrying out leading scientific research to protect and improve our natural environment and to fight the challenges of climate change.
In a recent survey, RHS members say getting young people gardening and protecting the UK from the threat of pests and diseases are among the most important roles of the UK’s leading gardening charity.
In a letter sent to all RHS members today, Sue said: “With heartfelt thanks for your support, we really couldn’t do all this without you.”
The team at Tong Garden Centre in Bradford has announced that it raised £10,000 for Leeds based children's cancer charity, Candlelighters.
The team at Tong raised funds for the charity that supports Yorkshire families facing children's cancer through a series of events and collection boxes at the tills.
Staff at Tong voted unanimously to support Candlelighters during 2018 and a charity committee was set up to organise fund-raising initiatives including the Maserati Tour De Yorkshire Ride that was led by Tong's MD, Mark Farnsworth; a sponsored walk; staff raffles; donkey rides and letters to Santa.
Tong's charity committee chairman, Dennis Keen, is delighted with the amount raised: "We all know someone whose lives have been affected by childhood cancers, so we're very pleased to help Candlelighters to fight children's cancer in our local community."
Amy Harrison, Corporate Fundraiser for Candlelighters is thrilled with the donation: "We are absolutely delighted to have worked with Tong Garden Centre in 2018, and so appreciate their huge efforts in raising £10,000 for our charity. Money such as this could do so much, from funding sibling groups and trips for a year, sending 10 families on a much needed holiday or funding talking therapies for our families for four months! Candlelighters supports children and their families affected by a childhood cancer diagnosis. Our support lasts as long as families need it, and we couldn't offer it without the support of fundraisers like Tong Garden Centre."
Candlelighters supports families facing children's cancer in Yorkshire. The charity gets involved in many different projects to help ordinary families who are facing extraordinary circumstances and provides support on the wards, at its family support centre and in the community.
Tong's fund raising team will be announcing its 2019 charity of the year shortly.
As Mr Fothergill's trials manager Brian Talman celebrates 60 years working in horticulture, he muses how his working life could have been quite different if he had not heeded the advice of a family-friend doctor.
"As a Surrey teenager I passed an engineering exam in 1959 to become an apprentice, but because of my asthma the doctor said a factory environment would be bad for me and I would be better working outside.”
Brian noticed local seed company Nutting & Sons of Merstham was advertising for a trials assistant, so he applied for the post, was taken on a five-year apprenticeship, at the end of which and while still a teenager, he was appointed flower seed manager on a six-month probation.
"Although I was never told the company was satisfied, I suppose it must have been because I stayed until 1983,” laughs Brian.
During that time the company moved to Cambridgeshire. In 1983 Brian was approached by Chicago-based Ball & Co and invited to set up a British trial ground, which he managed until 2002 when he decided to set up his own plant company Talman's Plants Nursery, which in turn led to him working with Mr Fothergill's.
In the early days of this association, Brian grew all Mr Fothergill's plants at his own nursery because there were no facilities at the seed company's Kentford, Suffolk, base. Through the years, Brian has supervised the development of the Kentford trial and the installation of state-of-the art greenhouses.
Mr Fothergill's commercial director Tim Jeffries takes up the story.
"We know how fortunate we are to have Brian running our trials, which several independent experts have told me are the best of their kind in Europe. His plant knowledge and understanding and his growing skills are unparalleled. He is a key member of our specialist horticultural team.”
Brian Talman is more modest. He simply says: "I can honestly say I have loved every minute of the past 60 years. While every day may have its challenges, every day I work with plants is a joy.”
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Terry Maywood, a Director with 30 years’ experience, across a wide variety of retail companies has recently been appointed to the Board of Choice Marketing Ltd as Non-Executive Chairman.
Choice Marketing was established in 2002 by 10 independent garden centres as a Buying and Marketing organisation whose members benefit from cost effective professional marketing and enhanced purchasing power.
The group has now grown to 42 centres and has become a major player within the industry, the Board believes that this external independent appointment will enable them to move the Group to the next level.
Terry Maywood Terry Maywood was the Managing Director of Blacks Leisure Group plc during its most successful period, from 2002 through to 2005, when store numbers grew from 291 to 426 and Operating profit from £11m to £21m and prior to that he was their retail operations director from 1996.
Since leaving Blacks, Maywood held several key appointments, over a near eight-year period, at The Theo Paphitis Retail group. Initially as Project Director overseeing several major transformation projects and later as Retail Operations Director.
Shortly after, Paphitis acquired Robert Dyas, Maywood held the post of Group Logistics Director with a specific role, within the Robert Dyas business, to re-define and improve their logistics and on-line fulfillment functions.
Maywood’s early career, in retail, was with Woolworths where he fondly remembers them being, not just, the UK’s largest retailer of sweets, Christmas trees, lights and decorations but also the nation's favourite Gardening store.
He says that a combination of Woolworths and his Paternal Grandfather (three allotments and a large garden in Sussex) are to blame for his own love of gardening.
He is currently a non-executive director of the Bowls Development Alliance an umbrella organization funded by Sport England to promote those over 50 remaining active where he chairs their Audit committee and Safeguarding panel.
Commenting on the appointment, Michelle de Lavis-Trafford, CEO, Choice Marketing said “We are delighted to welcome Terry as Chairman of our group. His wealth of experience and knowledge of the retail industry, as well as his other business experience in logistics, procurement, and process improvement will help ensure that Choice and its members continue to flourish and grow in what is a challenging marketplace.”
Garden Centres who would like to know more about the benefits of membership of Choice Marketing should contact Michelle de Lavis-Trafford at email@example.com
Warmer weather set to ignite garden product sales
Hopefully last week’s sales dip proves to be the low point for garden products during this lead up to Spring. A warmer weekend after Valentines Day should re-ignite our love for being outdoors with garden product sales responding accordingly...
Hopefully last week’s sales dip proves to be the low point for garden products during this lead up to Spring. A warmer weekend after Valentines Day should re-ignite our love for being outdoors with garden product sales responding accordingly. Are you ready for it?
Here are the highlights:
- Fito Drip Feeder For Orchids 32ml moved back to No 1 as orchids bought for Christmas need some tender loving care.
- Smart Solar Bug Lights are the highest new entry of the week, in at No 6.
- Pots sold well last week with Woodlodge No.3 Jasmine Pot one of three new entries at No 25.
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email firstname.lastname@example.org
Veg-2-Grow sales start to pick up
Veg-2-Gro sales grew by a quarter week on week as gardeners prepared themselves for better weather, according to GTN Bestsellers...
Veg-2-Gro sales grew by a quarter week on week as gardeners prepared themselves for better weather.
If the weather forecast is correct there could be a run on seed potatoes and onion sets this weekend. Fingers crossed!
- Taylors Seed Potatoes Arran Pilot 2.5kg moved up 25 places to be the most popular seed potato of the week.
- Taylors Shallots Red Value Pack were the highest re-entry of the week, back in at No 9.
- Appropriately, Taylors Rhubarb Valentine is the highest new entry into the GTN Chart. Clearly love grows in the veg plot too!
WILD BIRD CARE
Better weather saw a drop in Wild Bird Care sales, but they are still running at 25% up year on year to date.
- Westland Peckish Complete 2kg + 50% Free is the highest chart climber, up 35 places to No 9.
- Gardman Peanuts 2kg were the highest re-entry with a 200% plus increase in sales volumes.
- Smart Chapelwood Heavy Duty Seed Feeder Medium stayed at No 3 for the second week.
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email email@example.com
Just the spark for growing media sales growth
This coming weekend should be a bumper February week for growing media sales. After a great start in early January sales volumes of the GTN Growing Media Top 50 Index have been below last year’s levels while the weather has been cold...
This coming weekend should be a bumper February week for growing media sales. After a great start in early January sales volumes of the GTN Growing Media Top 50 Index have been below last year’s levels while the weather has been cold.
With daffodils blooming suddenly this should be the spark for more growing activity especially seed planting and soil conditioning.
- Evergreen Garden Care Levington John Innes Seed, 25 litres, was the highest climber of the week, up 27 places to No 15.
- Westland The Gardener’s Multipurpose Compost, 50 litres, moved up 25 places to No 7.
- Bloomin Amazing Soil Enricher, 70 litres, re-entered at No 31.
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email firstname.lastname@example.org
Plant sales recovered well after the weekend of snow to get within 10% of last year’s mid-February volumes.
With warm weather forecast for this weekend we should see sales rocket ahead of last year as people add spring colour to their gardens, balconies and patios.
- Primula sales recovered but are still 40% down year to date on last year.
- Petunia led the way in young plant sales, re-entering at No 12.
- Young plant Pelargonium sales (including zonal geraniums) climbed 19 places to No 13.
All Plants volume sales change: Week on week UP 77.3%. Year to date vs 2018 DOWN 9.9%, vs 2017 UP 28.3%.
To subscribe to GTN Bestsellers email email@example.com
There are plenty of opportunities to catch up with latest insight, information, case studies, industry experts and peers at an HTA event in 2019.
From the Garden Press Event to Cultivating Retail there is an event to suit all sectors of the industry. 2019 also sees the 10th anniversary of the National Plant Show (18-19 June) – bringing together key plant suppliers from across the UK in Hall 2.
This year the show will be bolstered with a range of trade manufacturers suppliers in the adjoining Hall 1.
27 February – Garden Press Event (HTA and GIMA), Business Design Centre
A unique one day event for companies across the garden industry to put across their stories, themes and new products to the garden media.
2 April – APL Stone Seminar, Horticulture House, Oxfordshire
A one-day technical seminar providing insight into a range of materials and techniques in hard landscaping.
15 March - APL Awards, The Brewery
Celebrating the best in landscaping excellence from APL members
30 April – Sustainability Matters, Horticulture House, Oxfordshire
A one-day conference exploring topical issues around sustainability for the garden industry including plastics, recycling, responsible sourcing and much more.
21-25 May – Helping Children Grow Discovery Zone exhibit - RHS Chelsea Flower Show
25 May – 2 June – National Children’s Gardening Week - https://www.childrensgardeningweek.co.uk/
18-19 June - National Plant Show, Stoneleigh Park – 10th anniversary show!
Bringing together representatives of British Suppliers from across the spectrum including seeds, bulbs and bedding plants through to houseplants, perennials and trees and everything in between. In our 10th year we are delighted to bolster the offering even more now with trade manufacturers and suppliers in Hall 1.
3 July – HTA Catering Conference: A slice of the pie, Horticulture House, Oxfordshire
This one-day event will be held at Horticulture House in Oxfordshire. It is aimed at businesses looking to develop their catering offer to the next stage or introducing catering into the business for the first time.
10-12 September – Retail Lab at Glee
11 September - HTA AGM at Glee
16 October – HTA Marketing Forum, Horticulture House, Oxfordshire
A one day event highlighting tips and case studies of marketing practice from across the industry.
19 November, Cultivating Retail Conference (HTA and GIMA), East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham
Strategic garden industry conference and dinner
Running throughout the year is Gardening is Good for You, supported by National Garden Gift Vouchers. This media promotion highlights monthly topics demonstrating the health and wellbeing benefits of gardening. The content and imagery can be used by garden centres in their own promotions. For further details visit https://hta.org.uk/gigfy.html
For further information about any of the events above please visit www.hta.org.uk/events or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlie Cracknell has been appointed Portfolio Director for Spring Fair, and will be in post from April 2019, assisting in shaping the strategic direction of the show.
With over 20 years of international event experience, Charlie has held a number of senior sales and event leadership roles working across multiple sectors, and has built successful customer-focused events and communities.
Spring Fair, the UK’s largest source of gift and home decor in the UK, announced last week that it will undergo its first major re-edit in eight years for the 2020 show. This year’s Spring Fair took place at Birmingham’s NEC (3-7 February) with over 2,000 exhibitors showcasing their offerings across 15 distinct show sectors.
Commenting on the show, Elaine Anderson at Bluebone commented: “We launched 100 new products at Spring Fair which were very well received and we have had lots of orders placed. It’s very well attended and offers lots of breadth and depth of products for home and gift sectors.”
Next year the exhibition, now in its 69th year, will have a renewed look-and-feel, which will reinvigorate the way buyers source products and connect with exhibitors. Celebrating both the Gifts and Home & Living sectors will remain a fundamental element of the show.
Julie Driscoll, Spring & Autumn Fair’s new Managing Director, said: “Charlie has a wealth of experience in shaping wider business strategies, leading global projects and helping to implement best practice. He will be reporting to me, and the team are very much looking forward to him starting in his new role.”
Charlie Cracknell added: “I’d like to thank Julie and the team at Spring Fair for the opportunity to take up a role at such an exciting time for what is one of the most established and respected brands in the business. It’s fantastic to be involved, and I’m already planning a concierge matchmaking programme for the show, aimed and finding and matching buyers with the ideal exhibitors. I’m thoroughly looking forward to making my mark in a re-edit year that will see some real innovation and bold changes for the brand.”
The investment programme that supports the re-edit follows the acquisition of Spring & Autumn Fair by ITE Group Plc.
Charlie lives in Wokingham with his wife Rachel and 7-year-old son Cooper. He’s a keen cyclist, and enjoys running and playing golf.
During his career, Charlie repositioned and established the UK IFSEC security exhibition into the leading European event for the sector. He helped to geo-clone the brand to establish a global footprint, launching the brand internationally and creating events in India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Nigeria, Turkey and Malaysia.
He’s also led a team as Senior Exhibition Director, in a role that encompassed launching greenfield events in Asia and in the Travel Technology sector, as well as revitalising and growing audiences and exhibitors at established events in Brazil and the golf sector. More recently Charlie has been leading the Gastech exhibition and conference portfolio, where he has been shaping the annualisation of this roving event, that is the market leader for the energy sector.
Year of the Nasturtium and Carrot
It's the '2019, Year of the Nasturtium and Carrot'. Many of you have prepared for and embraced the campaign and hobby gardeners will start their sowing soon...
It's the '2019, Year of the Nasturtium and Carrot'. Many of you have prepared for and embraced the campaign and hobby gardeners will start their sowing soon.
To support this, Fleuroselect are happy to offer some inspirational and educational texts on sowing and cultivating Nasturtium and Carrot written by a gardening journalist.
Download all the texts and images in high resolution from https://www.fleuroselect.com/home-garden-association/2019-year-of-the/ website and help hobby gardeners choose Nasturtium and Carrot this season.
The best of last week's
If you missed last week's GTN Xtra, below are the most-read stories...
Caulders buy two centres from Dobbies
Dobbies Garden Centres have just announced the sale of two of its smallest centres, Kinross and Cumbernauld, to Caulders, as the Dobbies team look at a number of options for growth towards building "the best garden centre business in the UK"...
Dobbies Garden Centres have just announced the sale of two of its smallest centres, Kinross and Cumbernauld, to Caulders, an independent family-owned group of five garden centres across central Scotland.
The sale of these two smaller centres is in line with Dobbies’ strategic growth plan, as it focusses on building a destination garden centre business.
Graeme Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of Dobbies Garden Centres, said: “We are pleased to have agreed the sale of our two smallest centres to Caulders, one of Scotland’s leading and most experienced independent garden centre operators. We would like to thank our fantastic colleagues at these centres and wish them well for the next stage of their career under Caulders’ ownership.”
“The sale of these two centres is in line with Dobbies’ wider growth and expansion strategy as we focus on growing our stall with larger destination garden centres.”
Graeme also told GTN Xtra: ""We are looking at a number of options for growth and we'll update any plans as soon as we're in a position to do so. We're less concerned with timescales, and more concerned about making sure we build the best garden centre business in the UK."
All 43 Dobbies team members at Kinross and Cumbernauld will transfer across to Caulders.
Colin Barrie, Managing Director, of Caulders said: “We are looking forward to welcoming our new team members to the Caulders family, and to working with them to develop these fantastic garden centres over the years to come.
“There are superb teams at both Kinross and Cumbernauld who have created successful garden centres for their local communities. The centres are a great fit for us and a welcome addition to our family business.”
Colin told GTN Xtra this morning that they had been taling with Dobbies on and off for a period of time. He said: "We are really excited to have these two centres joining Caulders. They are both well run centres that will suit our small family business style of operation and they are the perfect geographic fit for us."
The sale is expected to complete during February, with the centres re-opening as Caulders Garden Centres soon after.
New Marketing Manager for LOFA
The Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association has announced that Gina Hinde is the new LOFA Marketing Manager and is now in post...
The Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association has announced that Gina Hinde is the new LOFA Marketing Manager and is now in post.
Gina is well known within the garden Iindustry and brings a new dimension to the LOFA and the successful SOLEX trade show now in its 11th year.
Mark Osborne, Chairman of LOFA said, “when we met Gina she impressed us with her knowledge of the industry and her ideas and vision for the future for LOFA and SOLEX.
Gina told GTN Xtra: “I have always wanted to work with LOFA. There is so much unrealised potential there to be a force for promoting and growing the Garden and Leisure Industry”
See the full results and pictures of the Glee at Spring Fair New Product Showcase
Today (3rd February, NEC Birmingham) the second annual Glee at Spring Fair New Product Showcase Awards – in association with Garden Trade News - was the centre of much industry buzz as the ‘best in show’ were selected by a panel of industry experts, with the winners being celebrated in a special awards ceremony.
This year’s judging panel was made up of Trevor Pfeiffer of Garden Trade News, Simon Bourne from Perrywood Garden Centre, Romeo Sommers, Glee’s Retail Lab Creative Director, Garden Retail Success’, Steve Myatt, and Cameron Whitworth of Baytree Garden Centre. Together the judges selected five products, all recognised for their unique designs, saleability and innovative approach to bringing to market products that will drive profits in the coming seasons.
The first product selected and taking home ‘fifth place’ was the William Morris range from Woodlodge. This new range was praised for its combination of strong design, as well as it’s additional boost to the pot sales category.
Fourth place was rewarded to the Three-Hour Heat Box from Dizmezs. As the name suggests, this product provides three hours of heat for indoor and exterior gardens. Combining logs and kindling, the all in one cardboard box simply needs the power of a match to light it for up to three hours of heat distribution, and was praised for its convenience and excellent value for money.
Creative Products’ Mighty Little Digger scooped the third-place runner up prize. A simple, yet effective tool, the judges commented that the Mighty Little Digger offered a great price point and strong impulse buy potential.
Just missing out on the title of ‘winner’ was the Toronto Steak Grill from Tepro. An ideal Father’s Day gift, or just a great way for urban gardeners with limited space to cook outside, this product was a highly deserving runner-up in 2019.
But it was Creative Products who scooped this year’s top prize with Fly Away. The judges remarked upon Fly Away’s ability to tap into the al fresco dining trend, and how it will also appeal to the millennial market with its insect friendly credentials.
Matthew Mein, Event Director for Glee, said of the winners: “Congratulations to all the winners of the 2019 Glee at Spring Fair New Product Showcase. The quality of product on display are of the highest possible standard and demonstrate the breadth of products on offer from our exhibitors. Congratulations to all those that were recognised as part of this awards programme, and thanks to all those that entered. Finally, thanks to the judges. Their time and input are greatly appreciated.”
Find out more
Glee and now, Glee at Spring Fair, is the UK’s leading garden retail show. Both events focus on building year-round profits within core product categories including garden care, landscaping, outdoor living, garden design, pet, speciality food and catering, home, gift and clothing, and plants. Each year the two events attracts thousands of buyers from top retailers, such as leading UK garden centres, builders’ merchants, multiple retailers, and DIY stores. To keep up-to-date on all the latest news visit www.gleebirmingham.com or for details on exhibiting at Glee 2019 or Glee at Spring Fair 2020, call +44 (0)203 3545 9752.
Leading gardening tools and equipment supplier E.P. Barrus has expanded its warehouse capacity in 2019 to meet continued demand following a successful 2018.
Due to the phenomenal success at GLEE, as well as a significant increase in sales across all its brands, including Town & Country, Wilkinson Sword, WOLF-Garten, WD40 and Energizer, the company has taken on an extra 11,000 sq ft of warehousing next to its main distribution facilities in Bicester.
The new capacity will be used to cope with the increased demand and to fully service customers until a move to a new permanent 200,000 sq ft warehouse, also in Bicester, later in 2019 and 2020.
Mark Hewett, divisional sales manager said: “Thanks to the success 2018 brought us, we have been able to reinvest and expand into this larger warehouse. As we move into 2019, we will continue focusing on the company’s future to build on our successes while still making sure we are serving our customers to the highest standard.”
With hassle-free ordering, Barrus customers have the flexibility to order a single item from across the extensive portfolio of brands. Free carriage is applied to all orders above £37.50 cost with a standard rate charged below this.
GLEE proved to be a key part of the company’s success for 2018 with a plethora of new additions being unveiled across all brands. Through rigorous research, customer feedback and investment in new innovations, an impressive 166 new products were launched.
Mark added: “The exhibition is renowned for showcasing new products, so it gave visitors the perfect chance to see and experience our large selection of new items. We had a huge amount of interest in our new Town & Country MASTERGRIP glove range as well as the Elite range of premium cutting tools from Wilkinson Sword proving to be very popular with visitors.”
E.P. Barrus is the sole distributor of the new WD40 garden range, and all gardening brands, including Wilkinson Sword, WOLF-Garten and Town & Country are available to buy through leading garden centres and retailers nationally.
All the latest news from the world of garden centre catering
Buyers looking for the latest must-have innovations will have plenty to keep them busy at Casual Dining this month, at London ExCeL on 27-28 February, with more new products to see, sample and demo than ever.
The UK’s biggest restaurant, pub and bar event of the year has already confirmed a record 220 exhibitors (all space is now sold), including recent additions like Kellogg's – Pringles, Uber Eats, Tudor Tea & Coffee, Kingfisher Beer Europe, Vivera, Quorso, and Food Alert. Now it’s announced that a record 54 Innovation Challenge Awards entries will be going head-to-head to be named ‘best new casual dining innovation of the year’.
Eurilait, Fentimans, Hellmann's, Imaginative Cuisine, Lamb Weston Meijer, Lutosa, Meiko UK, Pedrino, Quorn Foodservice, Rude Health and The Meatless Farm Co are among this year’s exhibitors fielding new products/entries. As are Carlsberg UK, Double Dutch Drinks and Yumpingo – all hoping to repeat their success of last year and take home more gold innovation awards.
It’s a win-win for visitors too. The Innovation Challenge Gallery is a great starting point to see what’s new and launching onto the market (voting opens from 10am-4pm on Wednesday 27 February).
While the live Innovation Challenge final – where shortlisted exhibitors wow this year’s judges with a killer innovation pitch in 90-seconds or less (from 11.15am on Thursday 28 February in Keynote Theatre 2) – is a popular and fun highlight of an action-packed two days of business.
Innovation Challenge entries include:
- 3S POS: Intelligent Table App
- Ascentia FSE: The Gara Pizza Oven
- Aulds Delicious Desserts: Vegan GF Blackcurrant Vanilla Dessert
- Avery Dennison: Freshmarx 9417+ and Donate & Waste
- Avery Dennison: Freshmarx Temp and Task Tracker
- Bannisters Farm: Vegan Baked Potato Skins
- Big Drop Brewing: Big Drop 4 Hop Pale Ale
- Billington Foodservice: Cook From Frozen Risotto Range
- Black Fire Coffee Tequila: Black Fire Coffee Tequila
- B-Loony: BalloonGrip
- Carlsberg UK: Brooklyn Special Effects
- Carlsberg UK: Snap Pack
- The Crucial Sauce Company: Peri Peri Lemon & Herb
- Dalston's: Dalston's Real Squeezed Rhubarb
- Double Dutch Drinks: Double Dutch Spices & Oakwood
- EauVation: HydreauBar
- Eurilait: Al Fresco Cheese Sausage (Original)
- Eurilait: Al Fresco Cheese Steak (Chilli)
- Fentimans: Fentimans Connoisseurs Tonic Water
- Fwip Frozen Desserts: fwip Frozen Desserts Machine
- Givex: Ordering Kiosk
- Hellmann's: Hellmann's Vegan Mayonnaise
- The Hygiene Company: Hygiene360
- Imaginative Cuisine: Freshburst Dill Oil Pearls
- Imaginative Cuisine: Gastro Fluid Gel
- Imaginative Cuisine: Gastromist White Truffle Oil
- Joe Delucci's: Bubblegum Ice Cream
- Jubel Beer: Jubel Alpine: Beer Cut With Peach
- La Tua Pasta: Mini-Doughnuts filled with Pistachio
- Lamb Weston Meijer: Hot2Home
- Loveseitan: The Original Vegan Meat Alternative
- Lutosa: Skinny Fries
- LUXLO Spirits: LUXLO
- Majisign: Stash A-Board
- The Meatless Farm Co: Meat Free Mince
- Meiko UK: M-iClean H
- Menu Guru: Menu Guru
- Pedrino: Pedrino Ruby & Tonic Spritz
- Pedrino: Pedrino Sherry & Tonic Spritz
- Pedrino: Pedrino Vermouth & Tonic Spritz
- Pizza Equipment: Sigma Dough Spreader (Pizza Press)
- Poetic License Distillery: Strawberry & Cream Gin
- Quorn Foodservice: Quorn Vegan S&V Fishless Fillet
- Rubies in the Rubble: Rubies in the Rubble Ketchup
- Rude Health: Organic Turmeric Latte 1L (GF)
- Sea Arch – Not Gin: Sea Arch – Not Gin
- Sea Products International: Ocean Pearl Salt & Pepper Squid
- Slingsby Gin: Slingsby Gooseberry Gin
- Spirit Cartel: Koch El Mezcal
- Trail: Trail
- VITO Cooking Oil Filtration: VITO FT440 Oil Tester
- Yapster: Yapster
- Yee Kwan Ice Cream: Vegan Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream
- Yumpingo: Yumpingo Perform
Innovation Challenge Awards judges confirmed to date include James Elliot, co-founder of Pizza Pilgrims; Antony Bennet, head of food at Loungers; Glenn Evans, head of food development at Las Iguanas, La Tasca & La Viña; Frank Coughlan, executive head chef at BaxterStorey; Angela Malik, strategy director at Think Hospitality; Gavin Smith, operations director at Pizza Pilgrims; chef and consultant Jay Morjaria; Kate Eastwood, sales & marketing director at Revolution Bars Group; and Megan Lewis-Thomas, head of food development & marketing concessions, franchising & new concepts at Casual Dining Group. More big names are set to be announced shortly.
“Casual Dining gets better each year. It gives great exposure to hundreds of great products and suppliers, plus offers a fantastic networking opportunity with key people from our sector,” says CDG’s Megan Lewis-Thomas.
Free advance trade registration
Casual Dining will take place at the new venue of ExCeL London on 27-28 February 2019.
To register for a free trade ticket, please visit www.casualdiningshow.co.uk and use priority code CD80 (direct link: www.eventdata.co.uk/Forms/Default.aspx?FormRef=Cas29Visitor&TrackingCode=CD80).