Garden centre customers geared up for good weather in April

Customers at garden centres across the country prepared themselves for the good weather by buying furniture and barbecues for their outside spaces according to the Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade results.

Furniture and barbecue sales in April were up 37.46% compared to the same month last year (2016) with outdoor plant sales close behind at 33.22%.

Iain Wylie, GCA Chief Executive, explained: “We love nothing better than when the sun is shining. Lots of householders have been busy getting their gardens ready in order to enjoy the sunshine. They’ve been purchasing garden furniture and barbecues, so they can make the most of their outside spaces as possible and this has been reflected in the figures recorded by our members. “Garden sundries sales were up 27.65% and hard landscaping up 20.88%. Smaller garden centres showed a greater increase in plants as they make up a greater percentage of their sales.”

Clothing was another good seller with sales up 17.36%.

Iain added: “All that shopping must have made customers hungry, as they spent time in our members’ food halls and farm shops too, where sales were up 13.74%. Catering sales were also up 7.40%. “The results are reasonably consistent across the country, but we expect it will be a completely different story with May’s results.”

Pets and aquatics sales were up 6.68%, seeds and bulbs were up 3.27% and houseplants were up 9.70%.Sales showed an average overall for the month of 21.86% and an average overall Year to Date increase of 11.07%.

The GCA BoT reports are compiled using actual sales figures and provide an up-to-date trading position statement. They are made available mid-month following the end of the prior month after all member garden centres have submitted their results.

 

NEW-LOOK LITTLE GARDENERS RANGE HELPS GROW SALES

With re-designed packaging and a stylish new wooden display, the new-look Johnsons Little Gardeners range, launched in the 2017 season, has enjoyed a boost in sales, with an increase of 19% in orders against the previous season. Helen Clayton, Brand Manager for Johnsons says “We are really pleased the updated display has created such an impact and proved to be so popular with our retailers and their customers. The message which comes across loud and clear on the stand is “Learn – Grow – Fun” and every product in our Little Gardeners range encompasses these three elements.”

The National Curriculum guidelines outline that children in key stage 1 & 2 (five – 11 years) should be able to identify common plants and flowers, understand what plants need to germinate, grow, thrive, understand plant reproduction and how the seasonal changes affect plants and vegetables. Each product in the Little Gardeners range includes facts that cover these topics as well as giving something for children to grow, encouraging them to get their hands dirty and being actively involved in the garden.

Aimed at helping parents and grandparents to inspire and engage the next generation of gardeners, the Little Gardeners selection includes easy-to-grow flower and vegetable seeds, Seed Starter Pots, My First Growing Game, Complete Grow Kits, My First Mini Greenhouse, Indoor Cress Garden and Flower Mixes. All come with comprehensive, easy-to-follow instructions to ensure success.

Little Gardeners even has its own website (www.little-gardeners.co.uk), which combines fun and facts with easy-to-navigate areas such as the Fun Zone, Little Gardeners’ Academy, plus a Meet the Gang page.

Come on you reds – Tesco launches indoor tomato plant that keeps on producing

It’s a dream shared by many people – growing your own tasty fruit and vegetables, but not everybody has a garden or the required space to do so.

Now a new unique and super-productive indoor tomato plant is being launched by Tesco aimed at helping people living in urban areas without gardens. The mini tomato plant has been naturally developed over the last five years by produce experts who have bred together varieties to come up with one that is small, compact and most importantly very productive.

By following the care instructions the small, but powerful plants can each produce up to 150 delicious tomatoes with minimal fuss.

Tesco herb and vegetable buyer Phoebe Burgess said:

“We hope this remarkable little powerhouse of a plant will help all those people eager to grow their own vegetables but don’t have a garden or adequate growing space to do so. “It really is the gift that keeps on giving and will help bring not only an abundance of delicious tasting tomatoes but a lot of fun in producing one of the UK’s favourite salad foods. “Tomatoes are among the most popular fruit and vegetables to grow at home, but as even the most green-fingered of Brits know, the success of garden growing is often down to the weather, which in the UK can be quite unpredictable. “The beauty of the mini tomato plant is that it’s so small it can fit on a small, sunlit window sill and doesn’t grow much over one foot tall.”

The popularity of fresh growing herbs and vegetable plants is on the increase in the UK with demand rising by nearly 10 per cent at Tesco in the last year.

Added Phoebe Burgess: “Picked off the plant when perfectly ripe, the bite-sized tomatoes are juicy with a classic sweet flavour.

“The plant already comes with about 10 tomatoes growing on it but my tip is that when the yellow flowers of the plant start to open, tickle them with your fingers to replicate pollination which will then encourage further production.”

The mini tomatoes are ideal as a healthy lunchbox snacking food, and are perfect in fresh summer salads or delicious pasta sauces.

The Mini Tomato Plant goes on sale this week priced at £4 and will be available in more than 300 Tesco stores across the UK.

Mr Fothergill’s Launches David Domoney Seeds for Grow-Your-Own Newcomers

Following the success of continued partnerships with the likes of the RHS, RSPB, Sarah Raven and Jekka McVicar, Mr Fothergill’s has teamed up with celebrity gardener David Domoney for 2018, with the launch of David Domoney’s Get Growing seed range.

Aimed at newcomers to grow-your-own, the collection includes 66 of the most popular vegetable varieties and 10 easy to use seed mats and tapes. Packet backs offer simple, jargon-free instructions and a QR code links to further ‘on the spot’ advice from David.

Packet fronts employ easy reference icons designed to sell the simplicity of the products. In store, the stand-alone range is displayed A to Z, and uniquely includes smaller pea and bean packets more suited to smaller scale growing and beginner gardeners than traditional pea and bean packaging.

The targeted range joins Mr Fothergill’s growing portfolio of retail seed concepts aimed at specific consumer groups and skill levels. Segmented ranging has increased market share for the Suffolk seed firm in recent years, and this looks set to continue with further launches and product development in the pipeline for 2018 and beyond.

Mr Fothergill’s Retail Marketing manager, Ian Cross, said: “Beginner gardeners can be overwhelmed when faced with the full Mr Fothergill’s retail range for the first time. The David Domoney Get Growing range offers tried and tested vegetable varieties, backed by a trusted face of gardening. Newcomers can now make a quick and informed buying decision from a honed offering that is just for them. We’re increasingly seeing targeted ranges hitting the right spot with consumers, and our retail customers are seeing stronger sales as a result.”

David Domoney adds: “I am delighted to be working with the team at Mr Fothergill’s. Growing seeds is such great fun, and I want my range to encourage many more budding gardeners to get growing from seed. Whether garden experts or first-timers connecting with a plant, the moment seed germinates is a special experience that everyone should enjoy.”

The David Domoney seed range joins an RHS endorsed AGM collection and a premium Optigrow treated seed range as the key Mr Fothergill’s launches for the 2018.

Visit www.mr-fothergills-trade.com to build your retail seed offering for the season ahead.