Montgomery’s Los Angeles Retail Report

Slideshow: Los Angeles Retailers

The weather in Southern California has been erratic and sales are slow with the exception of vegetables that are experiencing unprecedented growth. The weather Friday, May 1 was in the 50s in the morning and into the high 70s by the mid-afternoon hours–ideal weather for gardening. For a Friday, there was minimal traffic in all stores visited with the exception of Armstrong Garden Center in Claremont, Calif.

Home Depot

Home Depot has a different model in this market versus what I’ve observed in other parts of the country, using multiple vendors in each store compared to a single-source supply. In some stores, we counted up to three annual and three perennial vendors. This leads to lack of continuity and makes the job of managing the plan-o-grams difficult. Stores have a primary supplier for annuals and perennials with one or two backups.


Lowe’s really excels in merchandising the outdoor aprons, always having high-impact, colorful items that clearly let the consumer know they are in the plant business. Lowe’s also has tapped into the hanging basket market with high-impact offerings and a nice range of price points.  Lowe’s is particularly strong in the annuals category with an array of sizes, price points and very consistent quality store to store


Los Angeles is another place where both the product quality and merchandising has made vast improvements. The Walmart store in Covina (No. 2202) was one of the best I’ve ever seen. The product quality was way above average and the assortment offered a nice range of sizes and prices. Walmart uses the new Calliope Geranium in the perfect sizes– 12-inch hanging baskets and a 10-inch patio that allows the horizontal growth of this variety to fill out containers. It creates a great look and value for the consumer.

Armstrong Garden Center

As you drive down the street, no garden center grabs your attention like Armstrong with attractive landscaping and lots of color between annuals, perennials and roses. Its huge flowering baskets atop fencing create a dramatic effect, as well.

Armstrong had the best traffic count of any store visited during this day tour. It had some really attractive vignettes, including a separate one for The Suntory Collection and Always in Bloom, the Armstrong concept of selecting a container and then selecting pre-made combination liners that fits inside. Then, during other seasons of the year, consumers can buy seasonal pre-planted refills while using the same container. It’s a brilliant way to sell plants, and it practically guarantees the consumer will return each season.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s had only one item, a 16-inch patio pot, retailing at $25.64. Plants were not in bloom and were obviously left over from the weekend before.


Costco offered several really nice items that were great values:

– 12-inch Proven Winners hanging basket retailing at $11.89
–16-inch patio pot retailing at $21.49
–10-inch hibiscus retailing at $9.99


As in other areas, vegetables are leading the way in sales gains for everyone. Typically, you see more cross-selling with items that include tomato cages, bagged soil, fertilizer and insect control. In some cases, large containers are selling, too, because many vegetables are destined to be used in patio gardens.

I have seen some creativity relative to vegetable marketing, too. Colorama introduced a line of vegetables and herbs that are being produced under organic standards to comply with USDA’s organic certification program. The program is called Healthy Habit. Vegetables are produced in the first rice pot to have a tag-locking feature, because Colorama knows unlabeled vegetables don’t sell. The program includes a very attractive label with plenty of instructions. 

At Home Depot, Coast Nursery offered an heirloom tomato program. Tomatoes are produced in a 1-gallon container with four color graphics, but tomatoes seemed to be somewhat on the low end of the vegetable pricing scale. Armstrong Garden Centers offered the Organix line of vegetables, along with an extensive line of generic vegetables.


Colorama launched its Healthy Habit vegetable and herb line in a rice pot with locking labels that is or will soon be all USDA-certified organic. El Modeno was offering quart perennials in rice pots without any promotional activities. And, of course, Bonnie vegetables were available under the Eco-Options concept at The Home Depot. Armstrong offered the Organix line of USDA-certified vegetables.

The Market

Traffic seemed to be down from what you would expect this time of year, and some merchandise was starting to show signs of aging. Still, for the most part, merchandise was good quality.

Home Depot was promoting 6-inch annuals at $1.50 each but there was not heavy movement with them, unlike the three 4.5-inch annuals for $1.00 promotion several weeks ago that had great success.

The stores we visited were in the area known as the Inland Empire. It has been hit particularly hard by mortgage foreclosures and may not entirely reflect the market in coastal areas.

Retailers Visited
Retailer Store No. City Annuals Perennials Vegetables
Home Depot 6369 Fontana Colorama Bordier Nakase Bonnie
Home Depot 0645 Rancho Cucamonga Colorama Bordier Nakase Bonnie
Home Depot 0687 Upland Colorama Bordier Nakase Bonnie
Home Depot 1084 Mira Loma Altman Hines Nakase Bonnie
Home Depot 6617 Glendora Coast Bordier Nakase Bonnie
Home Depot 0607 City of Industry Coast Bordier Nakase Bonnie
Home Depot 6884 Ontario Colorama Bordier Nakase Bonnie
Home Depot 8463 West Covina Coast Bordier Nakase Bonnie
Lowe’s (1) 1041 Upland Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Lowe’s 0316 Chino Hills Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Lowe’s 1872 City of Industry Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Lowe’s 1170 San Dimas Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Lowe’s 0774 Rancho Cucamonga Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Lowe’s 1700 Fontana Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Lowe’s 2473 Chino Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Lowe’s 2270 Ontario Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Walmart 2202 Covina Altman Altman Bonnie
Walmart 1947 Glendora Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Walmart 2288 Pomona Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Walmart 3522 Baldwin Park Altman Altman Bonnie
Walmart 2401 Duarte Altman Altman Bonnie
Walmart 2251 City of Industry Altman Altman Bonnie
Walmart 3464 Chino Color Spot El Modeno Bonnie
Armstrong   Claremont Armstrong Monrovia Armstrong
Sam’s Club 6610 Chino Color Spot n/a n/a
Costco   Cerritos n/a n/a n/a
































(1) CMA supplies hanging baskets to Lowe’s but Color Spot is the primary annuals vendor.

Retail Prices Los Angeles Metro
Item Size Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart Armstrong
Annuals Basic 806 1.99 1.99 1.80 2.79
  4-inch 0.99 0.98 1.25 1.49-0.97
  6-inch 2.97 2.98 2.50  
  1G 2.97 2.98    
Delphinium-Foxglove 1G     5.00  
  8-inch     4.50  
  T-18 15.98 14.98    
  1/2 9.97 9.98    
Premium Annuals Quart       3.99
  1G 4.98   4.50 5.99
Geraniums 4-inch 3.29 1.98   2.99
Cora Vinca 6-inch     3.00  
Geraniums 1G 4.98 3.98 4.50  
  Quart       3.99
Plants That Work 4 Quart       3.99
Nooks & Crannies 3-inch       2.99
Garden Club Select Quart   3.48-3.78    
  1G   4.86    
GCS Perennials 8-inch   11.98    
VIVA! Quart        
  1G 5.98      
Proven Winners Quart 3.49      
  1G 6.47      
Wave 306   7.98 6.00  
  6-inch   3.48 4.50  
Tidal Wave 8-inch   5.48    
Vigoro Quart 3.49      
  1G 4.48      
Perennials Quart 3.98 3.47 2.50  
  1G 4.98 4.47-4.98 3.98 6.99-19.99
Hanging Baskets          
Basic 10-inch 12.98   10.00  
Premium 10-inch 14.97 14.98 13.00  
Proven Winners 12-inch 17.97   16.00 19.99
Calliope Geranium 12-inch 17.97 19.98 20.00  
Fiber 13-inch 19.98 24.98 20.50  
Garden Club Select 12-inch   22.68    
  14-inch   24.98   39.99
Patio Pots 10-inch 12.98 12.98 13.50  
Urn 8-inch     10.00  
Item Size Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart Armstrong
Geranium Calliope 12-inch   14.98 19.00  
  13-inch   24.98 20.00  
Proven Winners 12-inch 17.97      
Color Bowl 12-inch 9.97      
  14-inch 12.98   14.00 12.99
Bonnie Vegetables 9-pack   3.48    
  3-inch 1.19 1.19 1.00  
  4-inch 2.98 3.00 3.00  
  5-inch 3.48 3.50 3.50  
  1G 5.98 5.00 5.00  
Local Vegetables 806 2.27 2.09    
  4-inch 1.49 1.36    
  1G 3.34      
Heirloom Tomatoes 1G 2.97      
Healthy Habit Herbs Quart 3.34      
  4-inch 1.98 1.98    

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