IGCA E News Number
2, June 2009
Greetings from California!
Well, let me tell you that this spring was the
year of; ‘If you can eat it, you can sell it’!
berries, fruit trees, citrus…. anything and everything related to food flew off
the shelves. Everything involved with growing your own food were the hottest
items in our garden center and across the USA.
The Northern California
weather did not cooperate with us very favorably so business, on the whole was
down. The state of the economy didn’t help out either. Let’s all hope we’ve hit
the bottom of the freefall. Inventory management and just-in-time
deliveries were high on our list of priorities at the garden center this
spring. The tightening of belts and the use of common sense have been a necessity.
I hope to see all of you
this September in England where we can continue to share our stories. I’ve been
told that we’re all going to have a great time!
Best regards, Tom Courtright, (IGCA President) Orchard Nursery
& Florist, Lafayette, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
A Bit of French Leave
During my recent stay in Brittany, I took the
opportunity to visit the Floralies Exhibition. This returns to Nantes every five years
and I thought it would be interesting to see how it compared with our U.K.
shows – Chelsea, Hampton Court, etc.
surprises me how just that narrow strip of water (The Channel) can make our two
countries so different, and the Floralies really
emphasised this. The major
displays were housed in five large, mostly dark, exhibition halls and were
huge, avant-garde and arty, with very little inspiration for the amateur
gardener, but lots of ‘wacky’ accessories such as over-sized models of dolls,
mysterious swirling mists and dragons hiding behind tree stumps. The
horticultural content was not particularly good and there were swathes of bare
earth – a massive No-No in U.K. shows.
The highlight was the stunning floral art displays,
many of which reminded me of our visit to the Ikebana School in Japan.
I had hoped to
buy some interesting and unusual plants from specialist nurserymen, but the
majority of the stands featured exotic cut flowers – Bird-of-Paradise and
such like, gimmicky flower arranging accessories, succulents, or food! That was the most impressive part of
the show – the choice was incredible – ice cream, chocolates, beef
burgers, pasta, tapas, crepes to name a few.
So I came away
convinced that the French Horticultural industry is missing a trick,
particularly in the current economic climate, but with two good ideas:
competition for schools planting a garden in a metre square wooden box,
mountains from chicken wire wrapped in clingfilm for
our Christmas displays.
Allen, The Millbrook Garden Company UK.
Here are a few words on trends on the
Canadian west Coast:
After one of the worst
winters in 25 years and a slow start to the season, most West Coast Garden Centres
are reporting very strong sales – in the range of 5 to 10% ahead of
LYA. Much of the increase is being driven by the sales of replacement
tender perennials and ornamental shrubs damaged or killed by our severe Winter,
but there also has been a significant interest in gardening for food production
– starting early in the season with seed sales, then fruit trees and
berry plants, and now vegetable bedding plants and herbs.
we have capitalized on this increased interest by including in our monthly
emails to customers articles high-lighting varieties of fruit and vegetable
plants that may be planted, along with planting tips, as the season has
progressed from April through June. To reinforce this message we have
created a scheduled program of rotating product displays in our garden centres
every two weeks to coincide with the email newsletter message. The
in-store displays change twice as fast as we wanted to keep the presentation
fresh and appealing.
John Zaplatynsky, GardenWorks, Canada,
The UK is holding the IGCA
Congress this Year
Trading is still strong in the UK following an
optimistic start to the season although May was a bit of a disappointment
compared to last year. YTD figures show that on average sales are up by 11% -
we hope that trend continues.
This years round of the annual Standards Inspection of our
garden centre members is now complete and the results eagerly awaited. All 160
members were inspected between the middle of March until 15th June.
During July each of the seven GCA Area Groups will be holding an awards
ceremony; all garden centre staff members in that area are invited to watch a
presentation by their Inspector so they can see best practice in their region.
Awards are presented to those who have achieved the highest scores in various
categories and at the same time the overall Area Winner is announced. We
started the Area Awards last year and it proved to be highly successful and
very motivational. Further awards will be announced at our conference in
January 2010 including the Garden Centre of the Year.
We now have 204 registrations for the IGCA Congress
in September which is fantastic news. The downside is that anyone wanting to
book now will have to go on a waiting list and that includes Administrators.
Gillie Westwood, Chief Executive, GCA UK
From the Irish Association
Our food and horticulture
board, Bord Bia, have
recently launched a promotion website for gardening. Included is a resource
section called Scientific Studies which has some useful articles for the Green
Industry. I thought they might be of use to IGCA members and one way to get
this information out is to include it with the next IGCA E-News. The web
address is http://www.bordbia.ie/Pages/IGT-ScientificStudies.aspx.
There's no need for usernames or passwords. I hope it might be of some
interest to members.
Anne McKenna, Garden
Centre Association of Ireland Ltd. E: email@example.com
Ireland with a population of just over 4 million is in a very difficult
place at the moment, but we are a resilient people & will rise from the
After a very wet Spring we are now encountering a heat wave. We can’t be
satisfied, it’s now too hot and people are going to the beach & not to the
Trends – Sale of garden furniture, B.B.Q &
large specimens suffering – grow your own fruit & vegetables sales
are excellent & impulse buying of colour & the less expensive plants
are doing very well. We are all
having to be innovative and working harder to attract and keep our
customers. We had the first ever
Camellia Festival in Ireland and was a brilliant success & for the first
week in July we have planned a strawberry festival.
We now have the Irish version of Chelsea ‘Bloom’ which was held over the
June bank holiday and was a fantastic event by any standards. It is already
being likened to an Irish Chelsea. It was a super event; Bord Bia our government board responsible for
Horticulture, Agriculture & Food ran this event which was attended by over
50,000 visitors. That, by our
standards was an excellent attendance. Do you recall only 2 years ago when I reported that in Ireland we had
full employment; well at the moment we have 12% unemployment & rising by
I’m looking forward to meeting all of you in the U.K. this year at
Doyle – Arboretum Garden Centre, Ireland. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
GCC completes national Garden Centre survey
A growing trend in Canadian Garden Centres is
increased volumes of sales in the smaller operators’ businesses. In addition, the survey results show
that the average dollar sale per customer has increased from $77.74 CAD (in
2007) to $98.76 CAD (in 2008), suggesting that customers have the money to
spend on Garden Centres’ offerings. Another increasing trend seen in Garden Centres
is that our members are investing in customer service: 97% of respondents offer
‘a money back guarantee’ on green goods (as compared to 63% last year).
Some of the most
successful marketing initiatives for member Garden Centres over the last season
included holding contests, giving out coupons, holding gardening
events/workshops, as well as offering weekly sales promotions through their
Survey results can be
found on www.canadanursery.com,
under the Garden Centre Canada section.
Canadian retail facts:
Did you know that Canadian consumers spent nearly $6.3 billion CAD at
the retail level on ornamental horticultural products and another $1.8 billion
CAD on landscaping services in 2007, with the average Canadian household
spending $650 CAD on the sector’s products and services? (Information taken
from ‘The Impact of Ornamental Horticulture
on Canada’s Economy’ by the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance
Canadian Nursery Landscape Association /Association Canadienne des pépiniéristes et des paysagistes
www.canadanursery.com E: email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org
Japan Garden Center Association
Japan Garden Center Association has annual general meeting and holds The
Japan Flower Decoration Skill Contest on July 21 to 22 in Osaka. Many members
and college students will participate in this contest this year. Some winners will be awarded by the
Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, governors and many other institution
In May and June, fortunately the weather is nice so many Garden Centers
sales are not so bad, but our industry is still in the severe depression. Vegetable seedling sales are going up
well and now we are ready for the Summer season with
tropical and green plants. Many
companies and public facilities utilize roof and wall green, shading by plants,
and using water spray and resources.
Some Garden Centers had severe damage from the new influenza especially
around area where infected people were found. Not only Garden Centers but other industries had to care
about this matter seriously in Japan.
Many Japanese delegates will attend the UK Congress. We are looking forward to seeing you in
Akatsuka, E-mail address: email@example.com
am sorry that we don’t have English homepage now.
VDG (German Garden Centre Association)
The weather beats
2008 once again showed the Garden Centres how weather-dependent the green sector is. Snow in March and cold temperatures in April resulted in a late start to spring business and meant clear sales declines for the Garden Centres. Top Summer weather in May produced new sales records for the Garden Centres. The winter also began mild, but from mid-December turned really cold.
previous year’s sales increases could not quite be matched in 2008, whereby the
smaller Garden Centres found things somewhat more difficult than the larger
outlets. Although there was a slight decrease in the number of customers, sales
per customer were maintained.
consequences of the poor weather in the Spring were
reflected particularly in the declines in tree nursery articles. Shrubs as well
as border and balcony plants recorded very slight increases. Pot plants and cut
flowers registered slight growth.
plant care/protection sector was not able to maintain the previous year’s good
growth, while fertilizers registered slight sales increases despite the trend
towards rising raw materials prices. Peat and potting soil recorded minimal
slight declines as did garden appliances, garden supplies and the water
vessels and interior ceramics experienced a stable trend, while boutique
articles increased slightly. Garden furniture declined slightly, furniture
covers quite markedly. The ‘miscellaneous’ sector experienced good growth, in
particular there were clear increases for the cafés.
Garden Centre cafés are apparently well received by the customers and are an
ideal complement to existing retail space aimed at offering customers a value-added
on their visits to Garden Centres. As a result, once again this year several
colleagues have set up new café areas.
All in all the VDG can look back on a satisfactory
year 2008 for most Garden Centres, even if the previous year’s sales could not
be matched by all members.
Due to the good weather situation in Spring, the Garden Centres are hoping for a positive trend
in 2009. The slogan, which did the rounds at the VDG Winter congress at the
beginning of February in Salzburg, is still valid: the weather beats the
economy! As a result, the mood in the Garden Centres is currently very good!
Special Activities for this
* Seminars for the staff * Start of the second Junior-Group in September
* Garden-Centre Inspections (nearly finished) * Winter-Tour to London
Martina Lok, E: firstname.lastname@example.org
South Africa’s Top Garden Centres Announced
One of the highlights on the local GCA
calendar is the annual GCA Competition. The members are evaluated through peak
season and in the autumn a second round of random evaluations are done as part
of the moderation process. The
2009 results were announced at the SANA Winter Convention held this year near
the Kruger Park 13 – 15 May.
Top honours this year:
Garden Centre of the Year 2009
Leeways Garden Centre – Johannesburg –
owners Jeff and Bev Parsley
Home Store of the Year 2009
Builders Warehouse Port Elizabeth – manager Lara Maritz
Competition is divided into two main categories namely Garden Centre of the
year and Home Store of the year. Garden Centres are traditional Garden centres
and Home Stores are members who have garden centres as departments in a bigger
offering. Entry to the competition is voluntary and around two thirds of the
GCA members enter every year.
competition organizers added three new categories from this year to garden
centres that excelled in certain sections of their nurseries.
Care: Stodels Nurseries
Bellville - Cape Town
Outdoor Plants: Pretty Garden Tuinsentrum - Bloemfontein
General Displays: Plant Paradise Garden Centre - Pretoria
winners were also announced:
Eastern Cape - Floradale Nurseries PE
Free State - Pretty Garden Tuinsentrum
Gauteng North - Plant
Paradise Garden Centre
Gauteng South - Leeways Garden Centre
Limpopo - Garden Pavilion Sterkloop
Mpumalanga - Garden
North West - Garden
Western Cape - Stodels
All GCA members are graded
according to their results in the competition and use this as a marketing tool
as well as a means of motivating or rewarding employees. This year saw only two
Platinum Awards being handed with the rest of the entrants receiving sixteen
Gold, forty seven Silver and twenty Bronze Awards.
Gerdia Olivier, SANA,
From Down Under - Australia
I think it’s fair to say that we
agree with Martina’s comments from Germany, “The weather beats the economy!” Weather
conditions, be they rain (too much or lack of), bushfires or extreme heat
affect us much more than the economy. Our Inter-firm Comparisons for ten months
ending April show:
average growth of 3.85% over the
- average sale of $49.83 is up 1.84%
- customer numbers up by 1.16%
May figures coming through
are very good. YTD figures might not look great but I feel that Garden Centres
are reasonably content considering all the adverse factors. The important factor has been in
controlling costs where possible. This is a real balancing act and you need to
ensure that customer service does not drop away. Debra Templar, a well known retail consultant in Australia has
just told me:
“Real world business is interesting. I'm currently
coaching 80 businesses in the Shire of Moira (which has been paid for by the
Shire) and I am astounded at the lack of 'smarts' that has caught the
businesses out. Under-prepared, lack of planning, NO marketing, excess stock
and still ordering too much stuff. Majority of problems are two things: Lack of
a system (whether buying, stock control, etc etc) and lack of marketing.
Too many secret businesses out there.
Aside from that I'm doing Sales Rep and Service
training for some major suppliers. They got away with it previously but now it’s biting .. drought, lack of
cash reserves, lack of access to bank $...
Even the big boys are finding that although they're
moving stock, they have slashed margins...come July there are going to be some
interesting results coming out... they’ve sold units but they've killed their
The charts below give you an insight into the
Australian Market. They are by courtesy of Martin Kneebone from Fresh Logic.
Martin’s company prepares the Australian Market Monitor for NGIA. www.freshlogic.com.au
The following figures confirm the swing to ‘anything edible’:
These figures come from a
prominent NSW Garden Centre;
Vegetables as a % of
Units 50.53% $
and % growth
compared with last year.
Units 12.66% $
And from a large seedling
The total shift of flowers to veges has been occurring for
the last 8 to 10 years – we may have pushed this trend along a
little quicker through the active promotion of Veges over flowers in this time. Today we see that veges are heading towards 70% of our sales; in 2006 veges would have been approx. 50 – 55% of sales.
If you would
like to look at some images of the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show
or the Ball Hortivations event then log onto www.greenworldmag.com.au and click onto the Post Event Images logo. You’ll
find some inspiration in the photos there. Please feel free to add your name to
the Greenworld E-News button.
Garden Centres Association of Australia Inc.
Please click here for previous enews :
- April 2009