association comment ‘A concern for the industry’

Garden Centre Association (GCA) chairman Julian Winfield outlines the GCA’s advice to manage the risks posed by Xylella fastidiosa

As many of you will probably already be aware, the Xylella fastidiosa bacterial plant disease is causing concern across the whole horticultural industry. Xylella can cause severe losses in a wide range of hosts and there would be a massive impact on plant trade across all business sectors in the event of an outbreak in the UK, which is a huge potential issue for garden centres and their suppliers.

An outbreak, where several different plants are infected, would trigger immediate stock destruction within 100 metres and a movement ban of host plants within a 10- kilometre radius for up to five years. This will dramatically and immediately affect most plant selling operations, as well as impacting on all businesses dealing in plants within the 10km zone. Domestic gardens, shows and gardening attractions could all be affected too. The list of host plants is growing and includes many popular garden and landscape plants, including lavender, rosemary and oak. The current list of confirmed hosts can be found here: _biosecurity/legislation/emergency_measures/ Xylella-fastidiosa/susceptible_en

We’re working closely with the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA). All GCA members have to be HTA members too, so we have very

close links with the organisation. We’ve been in talks with the HTA and have been involved in meetings with the body to help reach a positive solution for the issues facing our industry as a result of this threat. The HTA are taking the lead on the fight against Xylella, and together we’re championing signing up to a minimum standard on plant sourcing. We are asking all plant retailers to sign up to this standard and, here at the GCA, we’re encouraging all our members to sign up to this too. We’re urging them to make sure that their plant suppliers only buy potential host plants from trusted plant-passported suppliers, who know where their plants come from.

We strongly recommend that potential host plants are not sourced from or near regions where there have been findings of Xylella fastidiosa. Current demarcated areas can be seen here: plant/docs/ph_biosec_legis_list-demarcated- union-territory_en.pdf

Full emergency measures will be imposed at EU level when the disease has spread and there is an outbreak. The full emergency measures are not triggered if the disease is found on a single plant or within a batch of plants and is diagnosed and contained before it spreads (known as an interception). Stock will still be

‘It’s all about the experience’

British Home Enhancement Trade Association (BHETA) home improvement director Paul Grinsell examines some of the figures behind recent market performance

Against the backdrop of rising prices from suppliers, largely thanks to currency movements, we are in a highly competitive landscape. Fortunately for the garden sector, despite the average selling out prices in consumer durables rising by 0.7%, according to GfK, it is bucking the trend of many other home- related markets.

Helped in part by fairly decent weather, garden retail is benefitting from a 2% decrease in average selling prices, with sales value up 4.8% and volume up 7% year on year. The opportunity is very definitely still there for retailers to grow. So why are garden centres doing relatively well and how can they continue to do so?

One of the reasons is that the British public is bingeing on entertainment – just as if they were trying not to think about anything too

GCU September 2017

serious! In May, shoppers splashed an extra 12% on having fun according to Barclaycard, with an additional 11.5% on cinema and theatre tickets, and eating out spending up by 11.7%. The ‘experience economy’ is doing fine and all signs indicate spending on leisure time will continue to be a priority.

The great opportunity, it seems to me, is the role of the garden centre as a pleasurable destination for consumers. One other key GfK finding is that while online is now a default for just about everyone, shopping offline is a choice – and retailers need to make this choice worthwhile. ‘In store theatre’ is therefore crucial and garden centres are great at combining ‘experiential marketing’ with that other great attraction – a pleasant place to eat! So, as you plan your trip to Glee this year, think about products with potential for demonstration, products that really benefit

from assisted (i.e. live salesperson) purchase, think about workshops, how to’s, added value consumer entertainment and creative things for kids and families to enjoy. Think also about impulse purchases – ideally accompanied by merchandising systems that include experiential video.

Ensure you also have inspirational products outside of core gardening. Look to the gift market and to cookshop and housewares – an area which I always think is under-represented at Glee. These are the sorts of products which make a garden centre into a fully rounded experience and which increase the credibility of garden retail as true destination shopping. • For more information about BHETA, contact Member Services on 0121 237 1130 or visit the website at | 17

destroyed in this circumstance, but the movement ban is very unlikely to come into force.

Several nurseries, retailers and horticultural businesses have already signed up to the plant sourcing statement below and we’re hoping all our members will do this as well: “As a minimum standard, the following businesses have taken the decision NOT to knowingly purchase any host plants originating from regions where the disease Xylella is known to exist. The decision has been taken after detailed consideration as to the potential catastrophic impact the introduction of the disease could have to the UK environment, coupled with the ever increasing number of host plant genera of this disease. This is in line with DEFRA’s good practice recommendations.”

Along with the HTA, we’re aware that this is a minimum standard and, therefore, member garden centres are also encouraged to develop their own policy for managing the risks posed by Xylella fastidiosa. • For further information, please call 01244 952170. Alternatively, please visit, log on to Association or follow the organisation on Twitter at

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