Montgomery Reports On Fall Retail

Slideshow: Fall Retail In Atlanta

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery recently visited garden centers at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, and he stopped by Pike Nurseries to get a feel for the fall product. Below are his findings.

The fall weather in Atlanta has been wetter and colder than usual for October, but the good news is the rain has filled the lakes, bringing the water supply back to normal levels while removing all irrigation restrictions. During the two days I visited Atlanta, it was cold, overcast and wet with temperatures in the low 40s at night and low 50s during the day.

Home Depot
Home Depot had large inventories of mums and pansies with an array of sizes and price points. Home Depot built fall-oriented displays incorporating mums, pumpkins, corn stalks and bales of straw that created a nice fall-themed look.

Home Depot had great 14-inch coco mum baskets that were a value at $19.97. It had outstanding 10-inch and 12-inch garden mums with a nice selection of colors.

Home Depot also had the best pansies we observed. They were available in 209 configurations from Stacy’s Greenhouses. Home Depot focused most of its fall merchandising efforts on the outside aprons with large inventories, whereas its competitors focused more on merchandising inside.

Lowe’s offered a large selection of garden mums in various sizes and price points with overall reasonable quality. Lowe’s also had a small emphasis on multicolored mums in the larger sizes.

In pansies, Lowe’s offered a program called Rebound Pansies with a consumer guarantee backed by Syngneta Flowers. Pansies in the program were packaged in a logo pot with a large tag using a pot with a label lock. It was a decent package.

Walmart was in the midst of winding down the season with some stores, using 50 percent or less of its garden center space. What was on the shelves was really good product with a focus on items less than $5 retail.

The main garden mum sizes were 6 inch and 8 inch. In pansies, Walmart focused on 606, and 4 inch. The product quality was above average and well merchandised. Merchandising included accurate price signage on every SKU.

Walmart continues to upgrade their product quality and merchandising.

Pike Nurseries
You can really see the influence of Armstrong, particularly in the area of merchandising both inside the garden center and in the greenhouse with the addition of tables, great signage and product mix. Pike is very innovative in its marketing approach with timely promotions like the “All You Can Carry Pumpkin” for $16.99.

Instead of reducing the price of garden mums, Pike promotes buy-two, get-the third free. Pike also has one of the friendliest, most-informed staffs I’ve seen in any retail establishment.

The weather in the Atlanta market has clearly slowed down consumer traffic and is having an impact on sales. When observing the inventories at various retail locations, it seems as though larger sizes of garden mums were not selling as fast as in the past, evidenced by the overall ripeness.

During Fall 2008, I observed more pansies with more emphasis on the T-18 landscaper. The only pansy marketing program we saw was the Rebound Pansy from Syngenta Flowers offered in a quart size at $2.88 with a logo pot and large label. Although this is a consumer-guarantee program, unless you read the small print on the backside of the container you would never know it was guaranteed.

Prices were reduced on many items indicating the slower-than-usual movement driven by the weather and the lateness of the season. With an adequate supply of water and consumers not being worried about irrigation restrictions, one would expect the spring season will be better than usual. But, of course, spring’s success will depend on the weather.

Table 1. Retailers visited

Store Number Location Annual Vendor Perennial Vendor
Home Depot 0156 Acworth Pure Beauty-Stacy’s Stacy’s
Home Depot 0153 Marietta Pure Beauty-Stacy’s Stacy’s
Home Depot 1749 Austell GC Closed Outlet Store
Home Depot 0121 Vinnings Pure Beauty-Stacy’s Stacy’s
Home Depot 1763 Marietta Rambo-Stacy’s Stacy’s
Home Depot 0116 Woodstock Rambo-Stacy’s Rambo
Home Depot 1777 Kennesaw Rambo-Stacy’s Rambo
Home Depot 0106 Kennesaw Rambo-Stacy’s Rambo
Lowe’s 1668 Alpharetta Costa Farms Layman
Lowe’s 0616 Alpharetta Costa Farms Layman
Lowe’s 0543 Woodstock Costa Farms Layman
Lowe’s 1651 Kennesaw Costa Farms Layman
Lowe’s 0545 Marietta Costa Farms Layman
Lowe’s 0631 Austell Costa Farms Layman
Lowe’s 1801 Sandy Springs Costa Farms Layman
Walmart 3748 Acworth Metrolina Metrolina
Walmart 3471 Kennesaw Metrolina Metrolina
Walmart 0937 Marietta Metrolina Metrolina
Walmart 5390 Marietta Metrolina Metrolina
Walmart 5275 Woodstock Metrolina Metrolina
Walmart 0575 Woodstock Metrolina Metrolina
Pike   Buckhead Wenke-Sunbelt Monrovia
Pike   Toco Hills Wenke-Sunbelt Monrovia
Pike   Roswell Wenke-Sunbelt Monrovia
Costco   Kennesaw No garden plants  
Costco   Alpharetta    
Sam’s Club 8203 Marietta No garden plants  
Sam’s Club 6646 Alpharetta    

Table 2. Retail Prices

Size Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart Pike
Garden mums T-18 11.87 14.98 12.00  
  4-inch   1.76    
  6-inch 2.97 2.48 2.50  
  8-inch 6.27 Deco 4.98 4.50  
Harvest basket 8-inch   7.98 5.00  
  9-inch       7.99
  2 G 5.97 8.98    
  3 G 11.97      
  10-inch 12.99 12.98   12.99
Pumpkin face 10-inch 19.97      
  11-inch   12.98 12.00  
  12-inch 16.97 16.99 15.00 16.99
  14-inch 19.97   20.00 29.99
  10-inch hanging basket 6.93 10.98    
  12-inch hanging basket        
  14-inch hanging basket 19.97 21.98    
Patio square 12-inch   13.98    
Pansies 606 1.79 1.78 1.75 1.99
  306 3.67      
  209 5.99   6.00  
  4-inch 0.99 1.18 1.00 0.87
Rebound pansy Quart   2.88    
  6-inch     3.00  
  10-inch hanging basket 4.98 7.98 5.00  
Window box 16-inch     10.00  
Color bowl 12-inch   11.26    
Kale/cabbage 209   5.98    
  4-inch 0.99      
  6-inch 2.86 2.98    
  8-inch 4.96      
Asters 6-inch        
  8-inch   5.98 6.00  
Color bowls 12-inch       39.99

About the author: Jerry Montgomery is a 40-year veteran of the floriculture industry and has worked for distributor companies, breeders and large growers specializing with a focus on sales and marketing. As an industry consultant, he works for large growers, distributors and breeder/producers. His focus is to understand the market dynamics from breeder to consumer through intense retail travel, visiting almost 1,500 stores since January 2008.

Leave a Reply

8 comments on “Montgomery Reports On Fall Retail

  1. This may be a good time for Home Depot to have one of their ridiculous 33 cent 4 inch pansy sales like they did in the spring. Using the flower market as a lost leader may help with their snow blower and log splitter sales. I am sure the growers for HD would be very very happy with such a sale.

  2. Is this a marketing report or a shopping survey. There is no mention of customer traffic or customer count when he was at the stores. We now know who has the cheapest mums and best selection of pansy but what we don’t know is if anyone is buying them.

  3. What a shame to see how the big box retailers have destroyed the garden center business. Where is the report about independent retailers? Don’t the suppliers of these vultures already know what is going on in the stores? I have nearly as many years in the business as Jerry but I don’t have the cojones to pull such a con job.

  4. I agree, these reports are pathetic. Why doesn’t Jerry go to any independents, to get a feel for the season’s sales. I can’t believe they(independents) don’t complain more about these reports. Oh, I forgot, they’re working, they don’t have time.

  5. This may be a good time for Home Depot to have one of their ridiculous 33 cent 4 inch pansy sales like they did in the spring. Using the flower market as a lost leader may help with their snow blower and log splitter sales. I am sure the growers for HD would be very very happy with such a sale.

  6. Is this a marketing report or a shopping survey. There is no mention of customer traffic or customer count when he was at the stores. We now know who has the cheapest mums and best selection of pansy but what we don’t know is if anyone is buying them.

  7. What a shame to see how the big box retailers have destroyed the garden center business. Where is the report about independent retailers? Don’t the suppliers of these vultures already know what is going on in the stores? I have nearly as many years in the business as Jerry but I don’t have the cojones to pull such a con job.

  8. I agree, these reports are pathetic. Why doesn’t Jerry go to any independents, to get a feel for the season’s sales. I can’t believe they(independents) don’t complain more about these reports. Oh, I forgot, they’re working, they don’t have time.

More From Marketing...
Sheridan Nurseries

September 3, 2015

Greenhouse Grower’s 2015 Operation Of The Year Sheridan Nurseries Raises The Bar

Ontario-based Sheridan Nurseries has long been an innovator in the Canadian market, but during the economic downturn, CEO Karl Stensson says the company decided to take things a step further. “We have survived the Great Depression, two World Wars and many other downturns in the economy,” he says. “During this last recession, our staff set out at being the best at what we do.” The company’s efforts have paid off. Sheridan Nurseries was named Operation of the Year at Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence, held July 13, at Cultivate’15 in Columbus, Ohio. The company was also awarded for Excellence In Perennials Production, based on its reputation for plant quality and the activities the nursery has led and been a part of, both within its company and in the industry at large. “We are elated and proud of our staff accomplishments,” says CEO Karl Stensson. “Over the last five years, we […]

Read More

September 3, 2015

Legalization Of Marijuana In California A Strong Possibility

The push for the legalization of recreational marijuana intensifies in California as proponents promote the crop’s agricultural and economical benefits.

Read More
More and more people are employing a landscape service, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still garden

September 2, 2015

Under Siege? Not Really, Just Go For A Walk

I have no trouble with people buying chocolates or wine instead of flowers to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays or peoples’ lives. We should all have choices. However, the other night I felt like I was entering the Republican caucus. I was minding my own business by the television set and became more than a little upset. A website called came on the screen. It provided serene music and wholesome images of busy women doing busy things. It turns out that such busy women enjoy a small token of appreciation, but apparently their enjoyment, according to the voice-over, does not include flowers. This website delivers meals to the house, anything from beef brisket to beef bourguignon. It is a fine website with a good idea. But why pick on us? Why not use “” or “,” “,” or a dozen other things. When did flowers get to be the whipping boy? […]

Read More
Latest Stories
eMailMarketing feature image

July 23, 2015

Is eMail Dead?

Email as a marketing technique may seem outdated, but when done well, it is still an effective way to share content and market your brand.

Read More

July 22, 2015

Cultivate’15: Keynote Nancy Fire Says Use Passion…

In the second keynote presentation at Cultivate’15, Nancy Fire, founder and creative director of Design Works International, discussed how the horticulture industry can capitalize on the latest design and lifestyle trends. Fire works with companies to help bring their designs to the next level, and she has expertise with textiles and surface design, market analysis and corporate rebranding. She was appointed as design director for HGTV HOME in 2011. Fire says customers today are interested in companies that show passion for what they do. That, combined with following the general direction of trends and maintaining a brand, are what will keep horticulture businesses relevant to their customers. A trend isn’t just a passing fad, Fire says, but rather, it indicates that something is developing or changing in a certain direction. Plants are important to consumers today, and fit into current trends, both inside and outside the home, Fire says. “I don’t […]

Read More
LuxFlora logo feature image

July 21, 2015

Luxflora Launches With Cultivate Speaker Event, New Web…

A new organization for women in horticulture that aims to change the way consumers think about flowers, launched at Cultivate’15 by sponsoring Ketty Maisonrouge, a marketing expert, who presented “How To Create A Luxury Brand.” Luxflora recently launched its website, as well as a page on LinkedIn, to facilitate networking among women in horticulture. The organization is working on next steps, including setting up a board of directors and officers. Updates and information on future events will be available at the Luxflora website as they are scheduled. Read about Luxflora’s mission and what it hopes to accomplish in “Luxflora Wants To Create A Lifestyle Movement.” In the session during Cultivate, Ketty Maisonrouge, owner of KM & Company, adjunct professor of luxury strategy at the Columbia University Business School and the author of “The Luxury Alchemist,” presented her ideas and expertise on luxury strategy marketing, and how it applies to horticulture. […]

Read More

July 15, 2015

New Products Featured At Cultivate’15

A multitude of new products were on display at Cultivate’15, held in Columbus, Ohio. Attendees were given a first-hand look at new plant introductions coming to market, as well as innovative hardgoods, technology and equipment. One of the new options for varieties featured at Cultivate’15 was Sporticulture, winner of the 2015 Fresh Ideas Award. Sporticulture offers access to major sports leagues’ licensed products and packing. Team logos can appear on containers and tags, allowing growers and retailers to benefit from the loyalty customers have for their favorite team. Some of the featured plant varieties included Jolt interspecific Dianthus, from PanAmerican Seed, plus six new varieties from Sakata, including ColorWorks petunias, ‘Dragon’s Breath’ Celosia, PartyTime Coleus, ‘Proud Mari’ Marigold, SunPatiens Impatiens and Vitalia Vinca. Emerald Coast Growers featured its Marsala-toned plants, as a nod to Pantone’s Color of the Year. The collection included Pennisetum messiacum ‘Red Buttons,’ Pennisetum ‘Rubrum and ‘Eaton […]

Read More

July 8, 2015

Behind The Sale: Why Dümmen Orange Bought Florexpo, And…

Dümmen Orange recently announced it has acquired the product portfolio of Florexpo Costa Rica, a leading specialist in the production of perennials, herbs and annuals. During the fall of 2015, Dümmen Orange will start up production of perennials at its upgraded Antigua Flowers Guatemala farm, formerly the Ecke II facility in Antigua, Guatemala. The Altmanns, who founded Florexpo, as well as some of the key managers in the Florexpo team, will be assuming roles in this new endeavor. “In its long history Florexpo has built a good assortment, an outstanding sales network and a professional team of employees,” Perry Wismans, managing partner at Dümmen Orange, said in a press release. “With this move, Dümmen Orange takes the next step in realizing its growth strategy – aimed at creating synergies in technology, production and sales. We realize these synergies by distributing a variety of breeding programs and cross selling these products […]

Read More
Feature image The 2015 Perennial Plant Of The Year, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’

June 27, 2015

Perennial Plant Association Wins The 2015 Excellence In…

With its emphasis on education and its Perennial Plant Of The Year program, the Perennial Plant Association boosted the popularity of perennials and helped make it the vital category it is.

Read More
baker creative

June 23, 2015

Baker Creative Wins International Award For Work With J…

Baker Creative, a local branding agency, was recently selected as a Gold Award winner for the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals’ 2015 Hermes Creative Awards. Baker Creative won in the Advertising/Direct Mail Piece category for creating a factory opening invitation mailer for Jiffy Group . Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. The Hermes Gold Award is presented to those entries judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm. Only 22 percent of the entrants received the award. “When Jiffy needed to make a splash to draw attention to the opening of its new substrate facility in West Bridgewater, Mass., we turned to Baker Creative. The video card created by Baker Creative assisted us greatly with getting the much needed attention when inviting professional growers to the official opening,” a Jiffy Group […]

Read More

June 17, 2015

Marketing Ideas You Want To See From 2015 California Sp…

Back when California Spring Trials (CAST) were still called Pack Trials, new plants were placed on growing benches in packs so attendees could see for themselves how uniformly the plants grow. It was practical and useful. Today, CAST is primarily about introducing new plants in a way that catches your imagination and convinces you that these plants are not only disease resistant, need almost no inputs, including plant growth regulators (PGRs) and have excellent timing, but also that they are plants consumers will fall in love with. In other words, marketing. Some of the breeders go a few steps further and pull together ideas and information that growers can use for their own businesses. It can be methods to connect better with their retail customers or even to help promote our industry and its great plants directly to the public. Here are some of the standouts from CAST 2015. Pacific […]

Read More
Medal of Excellence Award

June 10, 2015

Greenhouse Grower Announces 2015 Medal Of Excellence No…

On this page, everybody’s a winner, because we’re announcing Greenhouse Grower‘s 2015 Medal Of Excellence nominees for two of our three awards in breeding, the winners of our Medal Of Excellence for Industry Achievement and Excellence In Marketing awards and the winners of our Grower Of The Year program, who are finalists for Operation Of The Year and Head Grower Of The Year. All honors will be presented during Greenhouse Grower’s prestigious Evening Of Excellence on Monday, July 13, during Cultivate’15. We hope we will see you there! Correction: Lobelia ‘Starship Deep Rose’ was bred by Kieft Seed, not Darwin Perennials, as we mistakenly printed in the June 2015 issue. Medal Of Excellence Watch Benchrunner in the coming weeks to read profiles of our Industry Achievement and Excellence In Marketing award winners, and look for these articles in our July 2015 issue. Industry Achievement Award The Kientzler Group Excellence In Marketing Perennial […]

Read More
Double Whammy Merchandise Display At CAST2015

May 28, 2015

Grow Inspiration To Grow The Horticulture Industry

We need to work together as the horticulture industry to inspire and instruct consumers with our plant knowledge and marketing expertise.

Read More

May 28, 2015 And Assist Consumers Wit…

The recently launched and websites offer growing and maintenance tips, where-to-buy information and design ideas to help consumers have success with growing and finding plants.

Read More
Four Star Greenhouse Proven Winner Plants At English Garden

May 26, 2015

Retailer To Grower: It’s Time To Offer Services To Loc…

Retailers wonder why mass merchants are the only ones to receive stocking, merchandising and plant care from growers.

Read More
New Guinea Impatiens

May 14, 2015

10 Tips To Improve Retail Shelf Life Of Bedding Plants

Good-looking plants at retail lead to stronger sales and less postharvest shrink. Try these 10 ideas for maintaining quality and keeping plants looking beautiful.

Read More
GrowIt! App Wins Gold At Design100 2014 US Mobile & App Design Awards

May 12, 2015

Suntory And GrowIt! Garden Socially Partner On A New Se…

Three different contests will run from May through early August. Garden center retailers can upload their own photos or encourage their customers to enter and win.

Read More

May 6, 2015

Orange Is The New Green: An Interview With Dümmen Orang…

The day the news came out about the name change of DNA Green Group to Dümmen Orange, and everything that meant for the large flower breeding conglomerate, Greenhouse Grower Editor Laura Drotleff talked with Dümmen Orange Operations Manager Kate Santos about what the identity shift would mean for the company, its customers and ultimately for consumers. What’s going to happen to the brands and what was behind the decision to do away with those brands and consolidate? A key objective for our organization in moving to one corporate brand is to continue to stay true to the heritage and history of the individual brands that have made us what we are today and what we will build the future of our company upon. For this reason, some of those brands that have a deep-rooted history and much more recognition within the market, will have a longer persistence in our overall […]

Read More

May 1, 2015

Restoration Landscapes: A Specialized Market For Nativ…

Restoration landscapes, depending on their purpose, often require straight native species, along with a confirmation of their known provenance. Research is key in this area and good recordkeeping is a must.

Read More

April 29, 2015

Dümmen Orange Is The New Name For DNA Green Group

DNA Green Group has a new name: Dümmen Orange. The company revealed its new name, logo and brand values at all of its facilities in 16 countries on Thursday, April 23. The well-known corporate brands Lex+, Bartels, Terra Nigra, Dümmen Group, Agribio China, Agribio Colombia, Oro, PLA, as well as the production locations, are changing their identities immediately to Dümmen Orange. Other established brands like Rijnplant, Ecke, Oglevee, Red Fox, Fides, Japan Agribio and Barberet & Blanc will convert over limited time. The company’s CEO Biense Visser calls it a logical next step. “All companies that have been acquired have a rich and successful history,” Visser says. “We have always tried to respect that heritage. Doing so, we created confusion for our customers. Our employees expressed a preference for a more uniform approach to the market, too. That is why we have chosen one large umbrella brand that embraces the entire product […]

Read More

April 15, 2015

Redesigned SunPatiens Website Offers New Tools For Saka…

Sakata Seed America's new and improved SunPatiens website launched March 1, 2015 and provides growing information, marketing support, product location and many more tools to encourage consumer success with SunPatiens.

Read More