Montgomery’s Atlanta Retail Report

Montgomery's Atlanta Retail Report

The weather was ideal for gardening last weekend with day temperatures of 75 to 80°F and nights in the 40s and 50s. As we observed in other areas, vegetables were selling like hot cakes along with T-18 Landscaper trays, 4.5-inch annuals and 10-inch baskets.

As an observer, it seemed prices points above $15 were not moving well. We saw a more basic assortment in many shopping carts. Premium hanging baskets were moving well, but it is clear only if they are full and colorful. The higher the price, the more consumers look for value. I saw a lot of empty patio pots in the 10- to 12-inch sizes being sold.

Home Depot
Its stores were really busy, particularly between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., with lots of Bonnie vegetables in shopping carts of consumers–along with 10-inch hanging baskets (basic seed) on sale at $5. The T-18 Landscaper tray was moving at a rapid pace with emptier shelf space than any other item except vegetables. Home Depot seems to have more of an emphasis on bagged goods than other retailers, with many pallets on the outside aprons whereas others use the aprons for color.

Home Depot ran a number of ads featuring Bonnie 5-inch vegetables at $3.48, which is its normal retail price. Bonnie also ran TV spots featuring its biodegradable peat pots extolling the virtues of the environmental issues.

Lowe’s
Stores were loaded with customers, and like its competitor, Lowe’s had 10-inch basic hanging baskets at $5. The T-18 landscaper tray was also moving along with tons of Bonnie vegetables. 

It seems as though Lowe’s was selling more upscale premium annuals and perennials. The T-18 Landscaper tray pricing was somewhat confusing, retailing at $9.97, $10.97 and, in some Atlanta stores, $12.48. The lower prices were mostly south of Atlanta in the smaller towns like Macon and Thomaston. 

Walmart
This company has shown so much improvement in the Southeast that it is hard to explain, with vastly improved in-store merchandising and product quality second to none. One of my issues has been the lack of price signs, but that has changed this season with 95 percent of displays accurately and clearly priced.

Walmart has a very easy-to-understand pricing strategy, using whole- or half-dollar increments in most cases on “green goods.”  Walmart has also gone to a more basic product mix, with just enough “cute stuff” to make shopping interesting.

You just can’t say enough about the improvement in product quality. Walmart stores are more colorful than ever. We have been closely watching the great new Geranium Calliope. Walmart offers a 12-inch Calliope at $20 retail. Talk about a great value.

Pike’s Nursery
Armstrong has really made a huge difference with its approach to retailing, and that is especially true in its remodeled Atlanta store located in the Toco Hills area. Pike’s has improved the interior with lighter and brighter colors, and a wider array of upscale merchandise. In the greenhouse area, it has installed more tables and uses many more signs to direct customers to various products areas. On Saturday morning, this store had more customers than any other retailer we visited.

Pike’s is the only retailer we visited selling organically grown vegetables, and the consumers were buying plenty at reasonable prices. They also did a masterful job in cross-merchandising tie-in products.

Pike’s overall pricing strategy is to be competitive on the basics and offer more premium products at higher prices. There was nothing in these stores in the green goods category we considered outlandishly priced.

Costco
It offered several items of garden plants, but most everything was out of flower and did not make a real statement.

–8-5-inch annuals retailing at 10.99
–12-inch premium baskets retailing at 16.99
–16-inch patio combinations retailing at 29.99
–12-inch patio retailing at 13.99

Sam’s Club
The only item it had in outdoor garden plants was 10-inch braided hibiscus trees retailing at 19.88. It was at least a great value.

Vegetables
Vegetables are selling briskly in the five markets I’ve visited, with the biggest beneficiary being Bonnie Plant Farms. It’s almost the sole supplier for the three national retailers.

The only organic program was at Pike’s Nursery, and we saw a small display of the Spice of Life program from Costa Farms in one Lowe’s garden center. Other than that, everything else was from Bonnie Plant Farms. Clearly, vegetables are the No. 1 growth category this season. Vegetables also generate a lot of tie-in sales with soil fertilizers, tomato cages and more. The total economic impact for each vegetables sale in my estimation is greater than any other green goods category.

Many are wondering what impact the Burpee Home Garden vegetable program will have on the market in the coming years. What will be the costs of the inputs? What are the marketing fees connected with this program? Will it be sold to the national retailers then forced onto the grower? Will growers be able to achieve an attractive gross margin?

If the program is sold to the national retailers, they set the retail and the brand owner sets the costs of inputs and the marketing fees. The grower is in the middle and can be forced to accept a reduced margin.

Vendor Performance

Clearly, vendor performance has improved. We are seeing more plants that are the right size for the container, and the amount of color at retail is far greater than in past years. This is more evident at Walmart than anywhere else.

If we could improve the performance even more, the suggestion would be to make sure any premium products have the right amount of color and plant size, especially those that are branded. We have seen a number of high profile varieties that are sold at premiums, but look worse than their generic equivalent. This is no more true than in the geranium category.

If the Atlanta market is any indication of what will occur in other parts of the country, then everyone should look for awesome opportunities. Make sure you don’t run out of vegetables!

Atlanta Retailers & Their Vendors
Retailer Store Number City Vendor Annuals Vendor Perennials
Home Depot 0163 Warner Robbins Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 1772 Macon Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 8527 Thomaston Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 0138 Griffin Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 0120 Atlanta Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 0111 Marietta Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 6906 Austell Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 0153 Marietta Pure Beauty Stacy’s
Home Depot 0106 Kennesaw Rambo Rambo
Lowe’s 0483 Warner Robbins Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 0546 Macon Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 1016 Macon Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 0456 Griffin Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 1807 Sandy Springs Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 0531 Austell Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 0545 Marietta Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 1507 Norcross Costa Farms Layman’s
Lowe’s 0543 Woodstock Costa Farms Layman’s
Walmart 1367 Warner Robbins Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 1112 Thomaston Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 2890 Macon Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 1586 Austell Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 1766 Marietta Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 2101 Marietta Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 0575 Woodstock Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 0347 Kennesaw Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 0937 Marietta Metrolina Layman’s
Walmart 2941 Alpharetta Metrolina Layman’s
Pike’s Nursery   Roswell Wenke/Sunbelt Riverbend
Pike’s Nursery   Atlanta Davis-Cowetta Riverbend
Costco   Kennesaw Metrolina Sunshine Growers
Sam’s Club 6646 Alpharetta Costa Farms  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Retail Prices Atlanta Metro
Item Size Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart Pike’s
Annuals Basic 606 1.69 1.67 1.75 1.67-1.99
  4.5-inch 0.99 0.99-1.18   1.99
  3.25-inch       0.99
  6-inch 2.47 2.19 2.25  
  306 3.88      
  1G       4.99
  T-18 9.96-10.97 9.97-12.48 14.00  
Annuals Premium T-18 16.97      
  6-inch     3.50  
Plants That Work 4.3-inch       3.99
  Quart       2.99
Vigoro Quart 2.97      
  1G 3.97      
VIVA! ‘Lemon Zest’ 1G 5.97      
VIVA! ‘Sunpatiens’ 1G 5.97      
Geraniums 5-inch 2.97     3.99
  6-inch 3.97 3.98-4.98 5.50  
  7.5-inch       7.99
Color of Caladiums 6-inch   4.48 4.00  
Yellow Petunia 1G   5.98    
Proven Winners Quart 3.97 3.68    
  1G 5.97      
Gerbera Tin Pot 8-inch   7.98    
Wave 306   7.98 5.50  
  Pint 2.18      
  6-inch   3.98 4.00  
Garden Club Select Pint   2.98    
  Quart   3.68    
  1G   5.98    
Tropical Accents 6-inch     4.00  
GCS Perennials 1G   5.98    
  8-inch   7.98    
HB Basic 10-inch 5.00-6.43 5.00-6.78 7.00 11.99
HB Premiums 10-inch   10.98 10.00 16.99
HB Hummingbird 10-inch   14.98    
HB 12-inch 12.98 5.00-6.78    
VIVA! Geraniums 12-inch 13.97      
Proven Winners HB 12-inch 19.97      
Big Red Geraniums 12-inch 16.97      
Calliope Geraniums 12-inch     20.00  
HB Square Fiber 12-inch 19.97      
Yellow Petunia 12-inch   14.98    
HB GCS 12-inch   21.88    
HB Regal Geranium 12-inch   26.98    
HB Yellow Petunia 12-inch   14.98    
‘Lemon Zest’ 12-inch 14.97      
Coco 14-inch   25.88    
Perennials Quart 3.57 2.98 2.50  
  1G 4.96 4.96 4.00 4.99-12.99
  8-inch   5.98    
  10-inch 9.97      
Color Bowls 14-inch 11.97      
Patio Pots 10-inch 12.98 12.98 12.00 19.99
Patio Osteo 10-inch     15.00  
Patio Geranium 12-inch   19.98 15.00  
Bushel 10-inch     11.00  
Coco Fluted 14-inch 32.07      
Window Box 16-inch   11.98    
Color Bowl 14-inch 11.97      
Color Bowl Premium 12-inch 14.97      
Patio 14-inch     20.00 39.99
  16-inch     30.00  
Bonnie Vegetables 9-pack 3.48 2.98 3.00  
  3-inch 1.19 1.18 0.95  
  4-inch 2.98 2.98 3.00  
  5-inch 3.48 3.48 3.50  
  1G 4.97 5.98 5.00  
Organix 3.5-inch       2.19
  4.3-inch       3.99
  5-inch       3.99 or two-for-$5

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Montgomery’s Atlanta Retail Report

  1. Anonymous

    Dear Sarah & Delilah,

    I would like to clarify some confusion about the Burpee Home Gardens brand. I was surprised to see Jerry’s conjecture in the middle of this retail report, given that the Burpee Home Gardens program is not in the Atlanta market. But we understand that there has been much excitement and discussion among the industry, as many growers and retailers are very interested in this program. While it’s natural for there to be questions about any new brand, we would have certainly appreciated the opportunity to address Jerry’s questions before this piece was distributed. It’s unfortunate that Greenhouse Grower and Jerry missed the chance to publish accurate and useful information rather than simple speculation.

    Burpee Home Gardens is a program that is designed to work for growers and retailers. Ball knows that this must be a program that provides a better return for our customers or it doesn’t make good sense. To that end, we have worked hard to develop a program that does provide a higher return for growers.

    Jerry does not know the details of this program because, with the launch of Burpee Home Gardens at Pack Trials, we’ve only just begun talking to growers and retailers about the finer points. We of course welcome the opportunity to provide the correct details of the Burpee Home Gardens program to Jerry or anyone else who is interested and we’re confident that the benefits of the brand speak for themselves.

    If you have any questions, Sarah, please give me a call. Thank you for time.

    Best wishes,
    Layci

  2. Anonymous

    Dear Sarah & Delilah,

    I would like to clarify some confusion about the Burpee Home Gardens brand. I was surprised to see Jerry’s conjecture in the middle of this retail report, given that the Burpee Home Gardens program is not in the Atlanta market. But we understand that there has been much excitement and discussion among the industry, as many growers and retailers are very interested in this program. While it’s natural for there to be questions about any new brand, we would have certainly appreciated the opportunity to address Jerry’s questions before this piece was distributed. It’s unfortunate that Greenhouse Grower and Jerry missed the chance to publish accurate and useful information rather than simple speculation.

    Burpee Home Gardens is a program that is designed to work for growers and retailers. Ball knows that this must be a program that provides a better return for our customers or it doesn’t make good sense. To that end, we have worked hard to develop a program that does provide a higher return for growers.

    Jerry does not know the details of this program because, with the launch of Burpee Home Gardens at Pack Trials, we’ve only just begun talking to growers and retailers about the finer points. We of course welcome the opportunity to provide the correct details of the Burpee Home Gardens program to Jerry or anyone else who is interested and we’re confident that the benefits of the brand speak for themselves.

    If you have any questions, Sarah, please give me a call. Thank you for time.

    Best wishes,
    Layci