Montgomery Retail Report: New York

Montgomery Retail Report: New York

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited 109 retail garden center locations in the New York area around Mother’s Day. Below is his New York regional retail report:

The weather was really erratic over the five days touring retailers on Long Island and the boroughs of New York City, Northern New Jersey and suburbs north of New York up to Norwalk, Conn.–making for a very interesting tour. The weather was fairly nice until Mother’s Day (May 9) when the wind reached up to 50 miles per hour, but it was surprising how much traffic was in the stores.

There is no doubt the consumer wants to buy green goods, as I witnessed great traffic flow in most retail locations on the 6th (Thursday), 7th (Friday) and 8th (Saturday). Edibles, of course, were one category that stood out, as evidenced by the number of shopping carts containing vegetables and herbs. This has to be a banner year for Bonnie Plants.

Home Depot

Home Depot is clearly the leading retailer of green goods in this area with the largest footprint on Long Island and in New York City and its surrounding suburbs that included two very interesting Manhattan locations. Most impressive is the performance of Ivy Acres, arguably one of the top Home Depot vendors, by providing great-looking bedding plants and far more color than I’ve seen in most retailers this season.

An interesting program is the Straw Pot 306 program: six 3.5-inch pots made from straw similar to a 306 with a retail of $9.99. It’s the equivalent of $29.97 for a 10 x 20 tray. The item seemed to have good sales velocity with many displays picked over by consumers.

Home Depot also had larger-than-expected Proven Winners SKUs, which did not seem to be moving off shelves at the velocity of other brands–particularly Wave petunias. No Calliope Geraniums were available but I was told by several garden center mangers the earlier shipments sold out quickly. There were small amounts of Viva petunias and SunPatiens, and fairly large inventories of Tex-Mex geraniums.

The space allocated to shrubs and trees seemed much greater here, but if you looked at the traffic, 95 percent of the shoppers were in the bedding plant and perennial areas–in my estimation not a good use of space.

Lowe’s

Lowe’s has a far smaller footprint in this area with seven locations on Long Island versus 21 for Home Depot. In the boroughs of New York City, Lowe’s has two stores versus 13 for Home Depot.

The Grow Your Own edibles program was in every store I visited. The big difference from other areas was the addition of a “flat talker” inserted on the end of each tray that made variety recognition far easier. Also in the vegetable category, Bonnie Plants has changed its large POS signs by making them more colorful and eye catching.

All Lowe’s stores carried the Proven Winners brand of which many Home Depot vendors assumed they had an exclusive.

Walmart

In this area, there are very few Super Centers. I visited three stores on Long Island that offered no outdoor green goods. The best marketing program was the 8-inch Confetti petunia retailing for $6.00 with standout packaging.

BJ’s Wholesale Club

Clearly the warehouse club leader in this area is BJ’s with its overwhelming store density, carrying large inventories of green goods displayed outside on the sidewalks against the store walls. Whether it was the conditions or the plant material, the overall look was not that attractive.

Costco

The following items are worth mentioning:

–Ten 4-inch premium annuals retailing at $21.49
–10-inch geraniums in a colorful tin watering can at $17.99–a high-impact item
–12-inch coco fiber hanging baskets retailing at $17.99
–12-inch patio Clematis trellis retailing at $24.99
–6-inch orchid ceramic retailing at $17.99–outstanding
–Full flat 508 (40 plants) basic annuals retailing at $7.99
–16-inch patio combo retailing at $29.99
–3-packs of 1-gallon perennials retailing at $12.99

Sam’s Club

The following items are worth mentioning:

–12-inch fiber hanging baskets retailing at $17.62
–10-inch fern hanging baskets retailing at $7.43
–Wishing Well planters retailing at $29.88
–  12-inch tulip ceramic containers retailing at $18.83

Kmart

Although Kmart has small garden centers, most of the bedding plants are displayed outside on sidewalks with little to no protection form the elements. Its offering was not very appealing and had little of the “wow” factor. The inventory looked aged, possibly a sign of less-than-anticipated sales.

King Kullen (Grocery)

King Kullen had a very small area outside the store that was not well merchandised. Green goods, therefore, did not look appealing. The following items were offered:

–4.5-inch premium annuals at $2.99
–10-inch basic hanging baskets retailing at $8.99
–11-inch premium hanging baskets retailing at $14.99
–Three 6-inch tomatoes retailing at $9.99
–Wave petunia 6-inch retailing at $5.99
–Wave 306 retailing at $3.99

Waldbaum’s (Grocery)

Waldbaum’s is another grocery chain trying to sell bedding plants with seemingly little sales volume. The displays are outside in the front of the store and don’t seem to get much attention:

–10-inch hanging basket premiums retailing at $12.99
–  12-inch premium hanging baskets retailing at $19.99
–6-inch Waves retailing at $4.99
–4.5-inch premium annuals retailing at $3.99
–12-inch patio geraniums retailing at $19.99
–4-inch basic annuals: four for $5
–306 annuals basic retailing at $4.99
–10-inch Sun Parasol retailing at $22.99

Hick’s Nursery

These guys know how to sell plants and get premium prices exhibiting some of the best merchandising I have seen in a long time. Everything either has a price tag or a corresponding group of price signs that makes shopping easy for the consumer. Hick’s also has more informational signs that any other retailer I have visited.

This is where you really see the “wow” factor, displaying large inventories with amazing color that’s well merchandised. The employees are all engaged with customers and seem to go out of their way to answer questions and make recommendations.

Martin Viette Nurseries
Martin Viette is an old-line nursery with a huge following of long-time customers that seems to specialize in outdoor living as averse to focusing on bedding plants. It does offer bedding plants, but there is a not a huge emphasis.

A large selection of patio containers and outdoor furniture compliment the green goods offering. Martin Viette is a really high-quality operation with well-trained employees who seem to be very knowledgeable and project a sense of liking their customer’s–kind of unusual in today’s world.

Summary

The demand for outdoor green goods is as good as ever. The X factor continues to be the weather. Edibles are growing in demand, as well as the related hard goods that make edibles the real engine of growth both in green goods and hard goods.

Home Depot is clearly the market leader with a huge footprint on Long Island and New York City metro. Some of the unique programs are Straw Pots, large offerings of Red Star cordyline in sizes up to 10 inches and the Weather Channel accent program–under the brand “Weather Tough.” It’s a good example of how a program approach brings focus to a generic category. Arguably, this program drives higher sales and increased margins.

In this market, Ivy Acres clearly stands out as a high-performance vendor with its stores showing more of the “wow” effect than others. It has one of the most professional group of merchandisers I have seen anywhere in the country. They bring in unique products like the Solenia begonia that was a standout at retail, the Straw Pots, Red Star cordyline and Knockout roses in Straw Pots–all of which are moving well at retail. I would guess the margins are above average.

One of my pet peeves is the way mixed variety baskets and containers are devalued by recipes that don’t provide varieties that all bloom together at retail. It seems as though when it comes to creating combinations the industry disregards the mantra “color sells” in favor of extolling their creative instincts. We see retailers dictating combinations that have little to no appeal at retail, as evidenced by what I saw from the dominant retailer in the area.

Consumers want mixed containers but they want stuff that looks great and will flower together all summer. Currently, we are not delivering the goods. The best combinations we saw both in baskets and pots were both single varieties with masses of color, and those produced from the Confetti liner. Let’s give the consumer the same “wow” factor in mixed containers as we do in pots and flats, and they will respond by opening their wallets.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

More From Marketing...
PrairieSplendor_CompactRose Syngenta Flowers March 2016

May 16, 2016

New “Generations Of Flowers” Study Tracks How And Why Consumers Are Buying Flowers And Plants

The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment have released an update and analysis of this study, which first began in 2009.

Read More
Webinar Photo from Flickr

May 7, 2016

How You Can Connect With A Broader Audience Through Webinars

Webinars are time-saving and effective marketing tools that can extend your reach to a greater audience.

Read More

April 27, 2016

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes, and learn where changes are needed.

Read More
Latest Stories
PrairieSplendor_CompactRose Syngenta Flowers March 2016

May 16, 2016

New “Generations Of Flowers” Study Tracks How And Why C…

The Society of American Florists and the American Floral Endowment have released an update and analysis of this study, which first began in 2009.

Read More
Webinar Photo from Flickr

May 7, 2016

How You Can Connect With A Broader Audience Through Web…

Webinars are time-saving and effective marketing tools that can extend your reach to a greater audience.

Read More

April 27, 2016

Use Your Data To Make Smarter Marketing Decisions

Learn which marketing metrics are important to your business, measure successes, and learn where changes are needed.

Read More

April 26, 2016

“Bee-Friendly” Labels Matter To Plant Consumers, Accord…

Research at Michigan State University shows ornamental plant buyers understand and respond to bee-friendly production practices.

Read More
Krause Berry Farms Farm To Table Dinner

April 20, 2016

What The Floriculture Industry Can Learn From Farm Mark…

Although we have a lot in common with the produce industry, there is much we can learn from one another.

Read More
Costa Farms Container Ideas E-Book

April 12, 2016

Costa Farms Targets Consumers With New Container Garden…

The electronic book offers tips on container selection, design, and plant care for millennials looking to grow in small spaces.

Read More
Tropical Fruit Tree Selection (Hopkins Tropical Fruit Nursery)

April 7, 2016

University Of Florida Research Shows Consumers Value Lo…

Compared to conventional plants, consumers reported a higher purchasing likelihood for certified organic or organically produced fruit plants.

Read More
Random Acts Of Flowers

March 31, 2016

The Floriculture Industry Needs A Unified Message To Pr…

Seeing the sneak preview of the new varieties that will be presented at California Spring Trials (CAST) spurs a visceral reaction in me. I’m giddy and excited about these gorgeous plants, having taken in some of their beauty and excellent performance already at Costa Farms’ Season Premier. I’m excited to travel to Spring Trials and that spring is coming, and I’m ready to dig in and get gardening. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. And it’s likely that consumers do, too. Nearly a year ago, upon returning from California Spring Trials, I lamented the absence of ideas translated from CAST to retail. The beautiful displays, the breathtaking combinations, the clever marketing — somehow, all of that effort and enthusiasm focused on business-to-business promotion is not being funneled effectively to the consumer. As an industry, we are not good at working together to market our products in a clear, […]

Read More
Sakata Seed America President David Armstrong

March 30, 2016

Sakata Signs Agreement With Indonesian Government To Co…

This week, Sakata Seed Corp. announced internationally that it has signed an agreement with the Republic of Indonesia to cooperate in the further development and production of its line of SunPatiens interspecific hybrid impatiens, based on the principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Under an agreement based on the CBD, Sakata Seed has worked with the Indonesian government since the early 2000s to identify the origin of the native germplasm collected in Indonesia to develop SunPatiens, and the two parties have agreed on how the indigenous genetic resources will be used for the further development of SunPatiens. There are currently only a few cases in the world of such an agreement, based on the CBD in the category of horticultural plants, made between a resource-rich country and a commercial seed company. Greenhouse Grower contacted Sakata Seed CEO David Armstrong to provide context about this agreement, what it means […]

Read More
NGI-SunPatiens-Compact-Hot-Coral-Sakata

March 23, 2016

P. Allen Smith Says SunPatiens Are Hero Plants For Cons…

Plants that ensure consumer success with disease resistance bred into their genetics, and ease of use in a variety of conditions, are heroes for gardeners, especially beginners, and they should be celebrated and supported to promote gardening success and interest. These are the messages the award-winning designer, gardening, and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith wants the horticulture industry to know, with the recent announcement of his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed. In an exclusive interview with Greenhouse Grower, P. Allen Smith describes his expanded partnership with Sakata Seed to promote SunPatiens and why the now 10-year-old series helps both novice and expert gardeners to be successful. Smith also collaborates with Sakata to promote the HomeGrown Collection of vegetables. SunPatiens Set Consumers Up For Success, Smith Says As a plantsman first, Smith has extensively trialed SunPatiens in his gardens at Moss Mountain Farm in Little Rock, AR, and says he is […]

Read More
Suzanne McKee

March 18, 2016

4 Pitfalls To Avoid With Responsive Web Design

When implementing responsive design on your website, sidestep these common problems with some advance planning.

Read More
1 800 Flowers Instagram Women's Day

March 15, 2016

Society Of American Florists Uses Social Media To Take …

SAF strategically promoted five key Facebook posts to expand its reach beyond its followers and prominently featured Women’s Day on its other consumer channels.

Read More
Mason Day Great Plant Debate Campaign For GrowIt!

March 3, 2016

GrowIt! App Founders Look To Make Waves At The Chicago …

Mason Day and Seth Reed will hold a “Great Plant Debate” at the event, while updating the GrowIt! app with information on every plant featured at the show.

Read More

February 26, 2016

How To Recruit Loyal Customers With Facebook

Facebook is a powerful engagement tool that when used effectively can help you attract and retain faithful customers.

Read More
Greenhouse Vegetable Marketing

February 18, 2016

9 Tips To Maximize Your Greenhouse Vegetable Market Pot…

Set yourself apart by sizing up your competition, evaluating your demographics, and putting customers first.

Read More
GrowIt! Logo

February 9, 2016

GrowIt! And MasterTag Partner To Enhance Plant Care Inf…

The partnership allows MasterTag to provide plant care instructions to the wide catalog of plants available on GrowIt!, which helps consumers find plants in their area.

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 26, 2016

Beekenkamp And Danziger Partner To Distribute Poinsetti…

Danziger is continuing to expand its portfolio of products to the U.S. market with the addition of poinsettia cuttings of Beekenkamp’s varieties.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]