Not Much New At National Retailers

Not Much New At National Retailers

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent the weekend February 27 and 28 in Southeast Florida touring garden centers at Walmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot and other retail locations. Below are his findings in the Miami and Fort Lauderdale areas.

The weather was ideal for gardening with day temperatures in the low 70s. It did rain in the late afternoon on Saturday, the 27th, but the weather was sunny and warm on Sunday, the 28th. It was somewhat surprising to observe how little traffic there was at retail. Of course, traffic varied by time of day and there was a steady stream of it. But very few stores were crowded, with Costco being the exception. It seemed to be at capacity.

Walmart

Walmart is sticking with its “less-is-more” concept with minimal SKUs and a major focus on outdoor foliage. Lots of damage was observed in this area coming out of one of the coldest winters in recent history. The major items in the annual category are 4-inch annuals and 10-inch hanging baskets, with a smattering of premium items.

Lowe’s

Lowe’s has more of a focus on premium items than the other national retailers with fairly large displays of the Garden Club Select premium line. In its Florida stores, Lowe’s offers a category called “Florennials” that offers annuals and perennials that will survive in the wide range of conditions in the Florida. Florennials are obviously positioned to compete with the Home Depot’s Florida Friendly brand, with very aggressive pricing.

Every Lowe’s store offered the new “Grow Your Own” vegetable brand, with varying levels of sell-through. It seems as though the quart herb SKU was enjoying much greater sales velocity than the one 1-gallon vegetable SKU. The quart herb retails at $2.48 versus a Bonnie Plant 5-inch at $3.48, while both lines offer the 1-gallon at $5.98. It does not appear many consumers are buying $6.00 tomato plants.

Home Depot

Home Depot has more of a focus on basic annuals with large displays of 4-inch annuals, T-18 landscaper trays and 10-inch basic hanging baskets. Its branded products include Viva, Proven Winners and Vigoro–all offered in small quantities except for Vigoro their house brand.

Viva has added some new petunias to its offerings, including ‘Crème Brule,’ ‘Inc-Red-ibel’ and ‘Rhythm and Blues.’

Flamingo Road Nursery

Flamingo Road Nursery is a first-class garden center–or, you might say, an outdoor living center and a recently added farmer’s market that attracts a lot of attention. Huge inventories of upscale patio containers in an array of sizes and types. The personnel were friendly, very knowledgeable and more than willing to answer questions and provide advice. Flamingo Road is a very impressive retailer that was busier than all the other retailers we visited.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club only offered two items in the outdoor gardening category:

–    12-inch fiber hanging baskets retailing at $23.62
–    14-inch patio pot combos retailing at $25.02

Costco

Costco offered large qualities of orchids along with Elatior begonias and one annual item.

–6-inch orchids with a clay pot retailing at $17.99
–1-gallon Cymbidium orchids at $19.99
–Four 4-inch Elatior begonias retailing at $8.99
–10-inch patio pots retailing at $10.99

Summary

It was interesting to note how few patio pots were available for sale at the national retailers. Container gardening has exploded over the past five years but the availability is clearly behind the demand.

In the vegetable category, other than Lowe’s “Grow Your Own” program, I only observed minimal generic vegetables at Walmart–and they were primarily a cole crop. Bonnie Plants still controls 80 to 90 percent of the vegetable category at the national retailers.

The Bonnie Plants brand has a tremendous following among the consumers and any effort to compete with it will not be easy or quick.

I did finally see one Lowe’s store that offered the Wave brand, which is really surprising for such a nationally recognized brand. In the 50-plus retailers I visited over two weekends, Wave was only available at one store. It’s a real missed opportunity for the retailers and growers.

We did see the popular Calliope geranium at Lowe’s in 12-inch baskets. For the most part, they were well done. Home Depot offered the Calliope geranium under the name “Big Red” in quarts and gallons.

Other than three new petunias in the Viva program, I did not see anything new for the season in the annual category.

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

2 comments on “Not Much New At National Retailers

  1. Many South Florida wholesale and landscape nurseries are on their last leg with the housing bust. They are conveniently located in a parallel line 5 – 7 miles west of the coastal areas in this survey. Word is out that you can walk in and offer them $1 on plants they were selling for $5-15 and bedding is half what it is at these retailers. Going out of business and for sale signs abound.The quality is poor and the nurseries are weedy but the bargains have wreaked havoc on this market.

  2. Many South Florida wholesale and landscape nurseries are on their last leg with the housing bust. They are conveniently located in a parallel line 5 – 7 miles west of the coastal areas in this survey. Word is out that you can walk in and offer them $1 on plants they were selling for $5-15 and bedding is half what it is at these retailers. Going out of business and for sale signs abound.The quality is poor and the nurseries are weedy but the bargains have wreaked havoc on this market.

More From Marketing...
Lavandula 'Meerlo' (Sunset Western Garden Collection)

March 3, 2015

Why You Will Still Grow Today’s Big Perennial 10 Years From Now

What will be the next big perennial? Breeders say it takes more than a splashy plant to distinguish itself in the market. Therefore, the question is not what will be the next big perennial, but rather what perennial performs well enough in the garden to have staying power in the market for years to come.

Read More

March 2, 2015

Avoid Surprises On The Delivery Dock

A call in advance about problems with a plant shipment to a retailer you supply goes a long way toward customer satisfaction.

Read More
Janeen Wright

March 2, 2015

Deliver Plant Quality That Trumps Price [Opinion]

The industry's goal is to have loyal customers who return to the same plants time and time again, not because of price, but owing to a plant brand that shouts top-notch garden performance and is synonymous with excellence, which gives them the secure knowledge that their investment will be worth every hard-earned cent.

Read More
Latest Stories

February 18, 2015

Range Of Nursery Inspections To Protect Patented Plants…

Plant patents are under protection, and breeders are fighting for their rights to keep growers from illegally propagating protected varieties. It's something you don't want to take a chance on, because the risk is far higher than the reward. More than 300 inspections were carried out last year from New York to British Columbia and from Ontario to Florida to protect plant patents, Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) and branded programs.

Read More

February 4, 2015

TPIE 2015: An Electrified Industry Vibe Boosts Cool New…

The general feeling at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association's 2015 Tropical Industry Exhibition (TPIE) was upbeat and positive. Attendees were inspired by exciting new products and varieties, as well as creative new displays and innovative ideas and left energized for the season ahead.

Read More
Costa Farms Website

January 21, 2015

Costa Farms’ Launches New Interactive Website

Costa Farms is making efforts to educate consumers while pushing horticultural digital marketing forward with the re-design of its website. The new website features a fresh design and improved navigation, as well as a plant finder that gives gardeners easy access to plant information.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Growers Are Successfully Marketing The Benefits Of Pla…

Growers who are already marketing plant benefits and gardening as a lifestyle say they think this could be the best angle for the floriculture industry to promote our products.

Read More

January 5, 2015

Plants Love You Campaign Raises Plant Benefits To Foref…

Plants make us feel good. It’s a no-brainer, backed by numerous studies, but there’s more to the story. And it’s one the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) hopes its Plants Love You campaign will tell in such a way that it will inspire people to make plants a part of their life, and on a bigger scale. COHA is an alliance between the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), the Fédération Interdisciplinaire De L’Horticulture Ornementqale Du Québec (FIHOQ) and Flowers Canada Growers (FCG). Inspiration for The Plants Love You campaign came from COHA’s research, which revealed that 96 percent of consumers surveyed have a favorable attitude toward plants. When COHA delved deeper into the numbers, one thing stood out loud and clear. “It quickly became apparent that while consumers like plants because they are pretty and make them feel good, few understood the environmental and health benefits plants offer.” says Frank […]

Read More

December 9, 2014

New Website For PanAmerican Seed

PanAmerican Seed's new website is mobile-friendly and has a fresh look and enhanced navigation.

Read More
What’s a pumpulent? It’s a pumpkin planted with succulents, and it’s also one of the ways Altum’s is catching customers’ attention with new products and modern marketing.

December 1, 2014

9 Digital Marketing Resolutions For 2015

Whatever your experience with digital marketing, here’s some advice for keeping your business progressing into the new year.

Read More

November 25, 2014

Conley’s Launches New Website

Conley’s Manufacturing and Sales recently launched its newly designed website, which was redesigned to create a user-friendly digital environment for customers to explore Conley's products.

Read More

November 17, 2014

Canada’s Plants Love You Campaign Educates Consum…

In a cooperative effort to promote the benefits of plants to consumers, the Canadian Ornamental Horticulture Alliance (COHA) recently launched its Plants Love You campaign to make consumers more aware of the health, environmental and economic benefits of plants.

Read More
Supertunia® Vista Bubblegum™ Petunia from Proven Winners

November 11, 2014

Plantbid Offers New Tool For Growers, Plant Buyers

Plantbid is touted as a revolutionary new tool that allows plant buyers to purchase their whole plant list at one time, from growers who provide their complete availability online. According to the company, this new offering could change the way growers and landscapers do business.

Read More
Dahlia Dahlinova Temptation Lavender from Dummen Fides Oro

November 10, 2014

Bas Pellenaars Takes On New Role As Brand Manager For D…

Dümmen group announces the transition of Bas Pellenaars from area manager to brand manager.

Read More

October 28, 2014

Zombie Adventures Are Back: GGS Releases Premiere Of Ne…

What's good for plants, but bad for zombies? GGS structures. The company released a new promotional video to get growers in the spirit of Halloween. GGS Structures ran a series of zombie movies last year, and this year, something new was released October 24.

Read More
Suzanne McKee

October 27, 2014

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
Sara Tambascio

October 2, 2014

How To Measure The Success Of Your Digital Marketing

Take a look at these metrics in your digital marketing to see if you’re connecting with your audience or just adding to the clutter.

Read More

September 26, 2014

How To Get The Digital Generation Into The Garden: Gard…

Capture millennials’ gardening interests with these marketing tips.

Read More
The Joseph Shinoda Memorial Scholarship Foundation

September 9, 2014

Shinoda Foundation Contributes Nearly $15,000 In Schola…

Based in California, the Joseph Shinoda Memorial Foundation's mission is to encourage educational opportunities for young people interested in entering the industry. Since 1965, the foundation has awarded $790,000 to more than 660 undergraduate floriculture students.

Read More
Salvia 'Playin the Blues' from Proven Winners

September 9, 2014

Grand Gardening Show On Mackinac Island Draws Huge Audi…

Dates are already set for Proven Winners' 2015 Grand Garden Show after the great response the 2014 show received in late August.

Read More

August 27, 2014

New Gardening App GrowIt Connects Community Of Gardener…

Thanks to Ball Horticultural Co.’s Mason Day and Seth Reed, gardeners can now share photos of their plants, interact with other growers and learn about what grows best in their area with the duos new app, GrowIt!

Read More