Diversification has never been more important in today’s garden retail environment. With the UK weather remaining unpredictable garden centres have had to find a way to generate revenue outside of peak season.
There are approximately 2,300 garden centres in the UK, with industry sales worth approximately £5billion a year (HTA 2016). With garden retailing changing and evolving, businesses have found themselves diversifying into new categories to become destination shopping experiences, with a particular focus on creating a “one stop shop” experience that is profitable all year-round to survive any downturn and keep customers coming back for more.
Larger garden centres which have a turnover of over £1million tend to take around half of their turnover from non-garden ranges (HTA Garden Market Analysis Report 2017). Plants now account for only a fraction of nationwide sales; the Garden Centre Association (GCA) estimate this was just 19 per cent last year*. Opportunities within non-traditional sectors such as garden gifting, clothing, as well as home and lifestyle have become increasingly important due to changing consumer habits and the ever-evolving garden retail landscape. We have seen some worrying headlines from the traditional High Street retailers, as well as a decline in the number of department stores in recent years. This has given out of town garden centre owners an opportunity for their businesses to stay ahead and differentiate from the town centre stores with their unique “under one roof “offering.