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INDUSTRY COMMENT: YEAR IN REVIEW


THE MOST CHALLENGING YEAR IN A GENERATION


GARDEN RETAIL HAS BOUNCED BACK FROM THE BRINK


Vicky Nuttall – Director, Garden Industry Manufacturers’ Association


What a rollercoaster of a year 2020 has been for garden retail. From the Easter shut down that raised the spectre of disaster for an industry that’s reliant on spring trading, to the formidable campaign that resulted in garden centres opening ahead of High Street retail, the last 12 months have been anything but normal for garden retail and its supply chain. We’ve witnessed up to three million new ‘lockdown gardeners’ enter the arena, according to the HTA, with nearly half aged under 45 – the ‘holy grail’ of the sector. Phenomenal summer demand and a season that extended well beyond its traditional peaks and into autumn saw suppliers work around the clock to pull back lead times; no mean feat while rising to the challenge of socially distanced working while order


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books overflowed. Despite unprecedented demand and overcoming so many hurdles, two further obstacles threaten to derail the recovery process if not addressed urgently. The first issue to be addressed is reports of pre-Brexit logjams at UK ports, soaring shipping costs and extended lead times which threaten to disrupt the pre-season flow of goods into the UK.


The second is Brexit itself.


Regardless of the outcome, the UK will leave the Single Market and Customs Union on 1st January and there are concerns that businesses still aren’t ready. It’s imperative that we all understand our administrative responsibilities and liabilities, and get to grips with the new bureaucracy. I urge anyone to visit the GIMA Transition Hub – an up-to-date resource that’s tailored to helping businesses cut through the ‘noise’ and prepare for our new working relationship with the EU. The range of services and support provided for members is extensive, offering something for all members, regardless of their size or heritage.


Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive, British Independent Retailers Association


This year has seen the introduction of new words and terms to the business world in general – lockdown, Covid secure, essential and non- essential retailers to name just a few. It is obviously a year dominated by the pandemic and there is no doubt that some things have changed forever. The DIY and hardware sector benefitted significantly by being classed as an essential retailer when the first lockdown came into effect back in March. There has also been increased consumer expenditure on the home as people look to use their unspent holiday money on improving their homes, or doing the many DIY jobs that have been on the to do list. As a result, the hardware/DIY sector has been one of the most buoyant sectors in retail. Retail is all about understanding consumer behaviour, and we


more flexibly in the future and so will continue to spend more time in their communities. If local shops can truly engage with their communities, they will be well placed to benefit form this change in lifestyle The future will not be plain


sailing. Importantly, shoppers have turned to their local shop for supplies, realising that everything they need is in fact on their doorstep. The second half of 2020 has been positive and we hope that this trend continues into 2021.


“The hardware/DIY sector has been one of the most buoyant sectors in retail.”


DECEMBER 2020 DIY WEEK 13


This year has been dominated by one major issue, which has affected all our daily lives. The coronavirus pandemic swept through 2020 like a tsunami, causing massive problems for every section of society and all businesses, both large and small in all industries. Luckily, the DIY, home improvement and garden sector hasn’t been as adversely affected as many others and in some cases there have actually been benefits, as people were forced to spend more time at home and therefore decided to tackle decorating and gardening jobs. All this has meant there’s been a mixed response and opinions of 2020 vary, so we’ve canvassed our panel of industry experts for their view of this most challenging of years…


RETAIL IS ALL ABOUT UNDERSTANDING CONSUMER BEHAVIOUR


have seen two significant changes caused by Covid. These are accelerated growth in online shopping and people working from home. Both of these are opportunities for the independent hardware shop. Many businesses have improved their digital footprint, website, etc and offered new services such as click and collect. People will definitely work


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