ost gardening and DIY retailers will be determining their ranges for Spring 2021 now. Some will follow a

generation. It is a retailer’s ranging, pricing and promotional decisions that drive the gross profit from which all the business costs have to be borne, thereby delivering the net profit for the company.

structured approach, whilst others will make a series of independent ad hoc decisions to come up with their offer to the customer.


Andy Campbell, independent business development consultant, specialising in the gardening and DIY sectors, discusses the benefits of a planned approach to your range review process.

type of product to purchase with the right entry-level price-point. Whilst more experienced enthusiasts can be encouraged to trade up to the next quality/price level, thereby increasing turnover and cash profit generation.

Structured range review In my opinion, there is no substitute for a logical, structured range review process to best meet the needs of your specific customer profile and to maximise the potential profit


Cobra has expanded its power tool range with the introduction of a new HT550E 600W electric hedge trimmer. The garden machinery manufacturer is committed to expanding its range power tools, allowing gardeners to do their bit for the environment while taking care of their outdoor space. DIY Week has been trying out the latest addition to the range.

C obra’s

hedge cutters is

range of designed

specifically for homeowners who prefer lightweight,

powerful, easy to use garden power tools and the versatile HT550E model is no exception and it offers some really useful features which belie its very reasonable £59.99 recommended retail price tag.

The HT550E features a 55cm

double-sided blade, so it cuts on both the downward and upward stroke, getting the job done faster and reducing the need for the user to move around. The rotating handle helps to tackle the most demanding jobs, and the 20mm tooth spacing will make light work of most domestic hedges and bushes. With a 10-metre


cable length and weighing just 3.4kg, this hedge trimmer is practical, manageable and a pleasure to use.

First impressions There’s no mistaking what’s inside the HT550E’s box, which is shaped to the tool and provides plenty of details about it on the outside. Once you extract the tool from this well decorated packaging, you’re greeted by the tool’s bright red body and the 55cm long silver blades. It’s quite a striking tool with a really modern design that feels good to hold, helped by the soft touch rubber material used on the handle. It’s also well balanced and features a clear plastic blade guard that aids visibility in use. Despite being made mainly of plastic, the hedge trimmer feels sturdy and is well finished and

the cast metal blade holder adds some extra strength and heft to the machine. It also has some useful design features, including a blade which swivels 90-degrees in either direction and power triggers on each side of the handle to make it easier and more comfortable to use at these different angles.

In use

The 600W motor is quite standard for hedge trimmers of this size, but the price of the Cobra is very competitive. In use it feels powerful, yet smooth and the 55cm blades with 20mm tooth spacing perform very well. Our trimmer had no problems cutting through a mix of shrubbery with a variety of thickness and density and was coping just as well after 30 minutes of continuous use,

which bodes well for blade sharpness longevity.

This tool is very user-friendly and

does a great job of tackling most types of hedging. Also, weighing in at just 3.4kg makes it easy to handle and use for long periods without fatigue and the 10-metre long cable allows you to reach across larger areas. We really enjoyed testing out the Cobra HT550E and it performed much better than our existing hedge trimmer and at under £60 it represents very good value for money.

Broad range

Cobra also has a number of other hedge trimming options in its range, including the H5024V and H5540VZ cordless models and the HT62C which is powered by Cobra’s own robust 22cc two-stroke engine. Cobra products are available to buy online at or via a network of expert dealers across the UK.

This enables all factors such as market dynamics; consumer trends; and customer profile to be considered when planning ranges. It allows for thorough comparison of alternative products and suppliers to meet expectations in terms of quality and service requirements. Ranges can be constructed in such a way as to encourage interested amateurs who might not otherwise have bought that

Planned approach

Other benefits of a planned approach include the ability to manage existing stock down to make space available in good time and to get the new range in quickly. It enables different retail price scenarios to be modelled to determine which will deliver the best cash profit not necessarily the best percentage margin; recognising that

there is a direct relationship between price and volume. The lowest price doesn’t always give sufficient volume uplift to generate the highest cash profit and vice versa. With time upfront, appropriate marketing and promotional activity can be planned well in advance to capitalised on the opportunity.

Maximising profitability With planning and by following a structured approach to building ranges the chance of maximising profitability whilst meeting and satisfying the needs

of your

customers will inevitably increase. From experience; significantly. It provides the opportunity to manage stock

through the supply

efficiently and effectively, the second highest cost in most retail businesses after labour.

Andy Campbell is an independent business development consultant, specialising in the gardening and DIY sectors at both the retail and production ends of the supply chain.


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