Your 2012 Sales Expectations

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Setting a lofty goal to boost sales by more than 10 percent next year? You’d be in the minority judging from results of a recent Greenhouse Grower survey, in which 29 percent of growers indicate they expect sales to be up 10 percent or more.

The largest percentage of growers surveyed (34 percent) expects sales increases to range between 5 and 10 percent next year; about 16 percent expect sales to be up less than 5 percent while 12 percent expect flat sales.

Only a handful of growers are forecasting sales declines in 2012.

Greenhouse Grower also recently asked growers about the factor that’s most critical to their 2012 success. In recent years this question has been a point of contention for growers. Some argue the weather is the most critical factor – and always is – while others say the economy has had a huge impact on the greenhouse floriculture industry these last three years.

These days, growers are again divided between the weather and the economy as the factor that’s most critical to their success. About 42 percent of growers say the weather is the key factor for their success in 2012, while 38 percent say it’s critical the economy continue to turn the corner. Labor costs, energy costs, competition and transportation costs were other answers growers could choose from, but weather and the economy – as always – won out.

“The economy, although slow didn’t seem to hamper those who wanted to buy bedding plants [last spring],” says a Western wholesale grower with between 250,000 and 500,000 square feet of greenhouse space. “Our wetter- than-usual May and cooler June really slowed sales. Our prime weather period this year really happened after July 4. By then, our customers had other plans to spend their summer. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the garden centers.”

Adds a Northeast grower/retailer with less than 50,000 square feet of greenhouse space: “Between a faltering economy and water bans it was a lousy year. This was our third year in a row of decrease. There’s too much competition from big boxes – they’re killing us!”

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