association comment Driving footfall

Garden Centre Association (GCA) chairman Mike Lind discusses the opportunities around Christmas and looks ahead to January’s conference

popular annual Christmas Competition is taken very seriously by our members, who use it for effective PR purposes and to ensure they give their customers the very best festive experience possible. Putting Christmas aside for a moment, here at

With advent now underway, Christmas sales at our member garden centres are building day-by-day with strong performances coming in from giſts and decorations. Every year customers choose to shop with us because of the huge array of wonderful gifts and decorations the industry has now become synonymous with, not to mention the delightful winter wonderland displays our members create.

Nearly all our members welcome Father Christmas in some format to their garden centres at this time of year too, whether in grottoes or other experiences.

The yuletide period is a huge footfall driver for all garden centres and our increasingly

GCA HQ we’re looking ahead into the coming year, which brings with it our annual conference. It takes place at Luton Hoo Hotel from January 20 until 23 and as always, our conference will provide attendees with pertinent information on key aspects of the industry to assist members in achieving their business goals.

And we have a whole host of high-profile speakers lined up including Sir Clive Woodward OBE, who is a former English rugby union player and coach and has worked with the British Olympic Association, and former English cricketer, Kevin Pietersen MBE.

Kevin will speak about his career and more importantly about his conservation work with rhinos in Africa and India,, which is the charity we will be supporting at this year’s Conference.

The GCA will also continue to support Greenfingers during 2019 - a charity we have supported for many years.

We are also hosting the International Garden Centre Association (IGCA) congress in the UK next year and are expecting 250 delegates from all over the world to join us in Windsor for the event from September 1 until 7. To add to all this, we’ve recently started searching for a new inspector to help our members retain the very highest of standards in service and expertise.

Our recruitment drive follows the announcement earlier in the year from Roger Crookes regarding his retirement from the role. Roger has been with us for 11 years and we’d like to thank him for his commitment, energy, invaluable expertise and on-going support.

• If you’d like to find out more about the GCA conference, the IGCA congress or the role of GCA inspector, please call us on 01244 952170, visit, log on to ion or Twitter

Gardenex, PetQuip and BHETA trade associations join forces to

stage post-Brexit export conference The British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) is collaborating with other associations to help steer businesses post-Brexit

Three of the leading trade associations in the garden and leisure, pet product and home enhancement sectors are joining forces to host a joint conference on The Future for International Trade, ahead of the UK’s departure from the European Union. The day-long event will take place on March 12, 2019 and will be held at the Stratford Manor Hotel in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire. Brexit marks the dawn of a new era for

international trade for virtually all sectors of British business, both home and abroad. The aim of the conference is to shed light on the very latest intelligence from an array of top-level speakers to help UK companies to navigate their best routes to international sales in the future. Delegates will hear practical information and

advice from leading experts on the changes and challenges of trading internationally after the UK leaves the European Union, including practical case studies from successful exporters in the gardening and leisure, pet product and home enhancement industry sectors. Also invited to

GCU November/December 2018

participate to provide further guidance and in- depth export information and advice will be a wide range of experienced service providers specialising in transport, logistics, IP, international business law, exhibition organisers, government advisors and many more. Gardenex and PetQuip director general Amanda Sizer Barrett commented: “We expect a huge take-up for this practical and timely event on March 12, which will deliver the latest intelligence from an array of top-level speakers and export experts to help UK companies in navigating their best routes to secure international sales in the future.”

BHETA executive director Will Jones added: “BHETA is delighted to be working with the Federation of Garden & Leisure Manufacturers on this joint initiative; we are confident that the programme of presentations will provide delegates with expert information, practical advice and inspiration, while a wide range of export service providers will give face-to-face export guidance to delegates.”

The conference has a clear mandate to help

suppliers understand and navigate the Brexit complexities and in addition, highlight the export support and opportunities available worldwide. Leading export service providers will be on hand to provide delegates with practical advice throughout the conference within the ‘Ask the Expert’ Zone.

Places can be reserved at the conference now by contacting your appropriate association by telephone, email or via the associations’ websites.

Contact Gardenex or PetQuip on 01959 565995, email or or visit

Contact BHETA on 0121 237 1130, email or visit Members of Gardenex, PetQuip, CHA and BHETA can secure a preferential delegate rate of £69 per person at the conference. The event is also open to non-members at £149 per person (both plus VAT). | 17

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