October 20, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations In Cleveland, Ohio

The weather was warm on May 27 and 28, 2012, in the 80s, and the shoppers were out in force buying plants and a lot of related garden items. It should have been a great retail weekend for growers and retailers. This is another market where Home Depot is the most dominant, displaying good-quality green goods in conjunction with very good merchandising. Cleveland is also the home of Petitti Garden Centers, a family-owned group of nine garden centers throughout northeastern Ohio and one of the leading independents in North America. Petitti opened new locations over the past three years, an indication of how a well-managed independent garden center can survive and flourish during these times. If you want to visit garden centers that know how to sell plants, this is the place to go. Petitti Garden Centers I had the pleasure of visiting two Petitti stores in Mentor and in […]

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September 27, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations In Charlotte, N.C.

The weather on Saturday, April 28, 2012, was overcast and in the low 60s (farenheit). This obviously impacted the shopper turnout, which was extremely low and very disappointing. However, on Sunday the 29th the sun came out and the temperatures zoomed into the low 80s by afternoon; stores were filled with shoppers. Lowe’s In Charlotte you will find some of the best Lowe’s garden centers in the country. This quality is driven by a combination of a very relevant assortment of products, crack merchandising and very consistent product quality with a lot of color, or as I prefer to say, “The WOW Factor.”  One often neglected part of merchandising is customer interaction, but in the Charlotte store it appears to be SOP. Merchandisers constantly assist consumers by answering their questions and making a lot of suggestions. This obviously leads towards both higher sales and customer satisfaction. On the product side, […]

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September 26, 2012

Garden Retail 2012: Observations On Spring From Jerry Montgomery

After enduring the spring of 2011 — arguably one of the worst years weather-wise in the past two decades — 2012 brought a spark back to the industry. A number of areas, especially in parts of the West, encountered really good weather. Other areas had a good start with many reporting record sales in March, only to see cold and rain return in April and erratic weather patterns in May. But when the weather was decent, consumers were out in force. Our team has visited 5012 garden centers since 2005. During this spring season, we visited 412 — boxes and independents — in California, the deep South, Mid-South, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. Here are the trends we saw this year. Retailers At most retailers we visited we saw fewer employees than in previous years. The exception was in independents where we observed more staff on the sales floor. A good example […]

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September 18, 2012

The Home Depot’s China Stores Close

The Home Depot is closing its remaining seven big box stores in China, opting to focus on specialty stores and online offerings in that market. The Home Depot will maintain two recently opened specialty stores – a paint and flooring store and a Home Decorators Collection store – and is in the beginning stages of developing relationships with several of China’s leading eCommerce websites, a reflection of Chinese customers’ needs and shopping preferences. The store closings will affect approximately 850 associates, who will receive severance packages and job placement assistance. “Closing stores is always a difficult decision,” says Frank Blake, chairman & CEO, The Home Depot. “We are thankful for the dedicated service of our store associates in China, and we wish them all the best during this transition.” While it is closing its big box stores, The Home Depot is maintaining a new formats team to continue research and […]

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The HGTV HOME Plant Collection

July 20, 2012

Branded Plant Collections Engage New Customers

It’s a common complaint: fewer people are interested in gardening nowadays. While research suggests that people have trouble connecting with plants, many media brands are working to make live goods more accessible to consumers. The Southern Living Plant Collection (SLPC) debuted in spring 2008, and Sunset magazine and HGTV have followed with their own collections. Each new collection strives to seduce more people into the garden, but is it working? Regional Plant Collections Increase Customer Confidence For southerners, and those that read Southern Living magazine, gardening has always been a big part of the overall lifestyle. The Southern Living team knew that the magazine’s readers were interested in getting their fingernails dirty; the plant collection was anatural next step. “Southern Living is a very strong brand name and lifestyle magazine, and gardening is a big component of what they do that appeals to the Southern lifestyle,” says Kip McConnell, director of […]

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May 25, 2012

Big Box Comparison

From Lowe’s to Home Depot, not all big-box offerings are the same. In this side-by-side comparison, growers see which parts of the country boast the best Walmart stores. Southern California As always, of the big boxes and chains, Walmart had the lowest prices and the smallest inventories of green goods. This year, however, it is launching the Better Homes & Gardens-branded annual program. The first product is an 8-inch combination consisting of two petunias and one bacopa. It retails for $5.98, the same price point as the Dümmen 8-inch Confetti. The recipe was not very colorful, and in some stores, the petunias overgrew the bacopa, but all in all, a very reasonable price point. The container was a dark, lime green with a lot of print, including planting instructions. One noticeable change from last year is Bonnie Plants has regained all of the vegetable space back from the generic market […]

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March 2, 2012

VIVA! Announces Dahlia XXL For Spring 2012

VIVA! announces Dahlia XXL, a new series for spring 2012. The same dahlia that makes an ideal selection for the garden or mixed container now boasts fully double blooms on top of strong sturdy stems. The plants in the XXL series need strong stems to support blooms that can grow up to 6” in diameter.  Dahlia XXL has performed well in 2011 trials. In many locations they were planted late spring and performed well into the heat of the summer. Dahlia XXL does best in areas that get full to part sun and have moist well drained soil.  These plants average 20” in height and 18” in width. The strong stalks and colorful blooms make great cut flowers.   “I have traveled all over the country visiting plant trials and Dahlia XXL stands out above the crowd,” says Ray French, product manager at Floragem. “Even in the dead heat of summer, […]

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January 20, 2012

The Home Depot Acquires Redbeacon

The Home Depot has acquired Redbeacon, an online home services platform connecting consumers with contractors for their home maintenance, repair and remodeling needs. Currently, users request a service on the Redbeacon website, such as house cleaning and home repairs, and the site matches the request with a service provider in the customer’s area. Quotes are sent to the user, and appointments for the service are booked through the Redbeacon site. The site and service were launched in 2009 at the TechCrunch 50 Conference. “One of the things that sets Redbeacon apart is the sophisticated algorithms we’ve developed to match consumers’ service needs to local providers who are best qualified for the job,” says Aaron Lee, Cofounder and Software Engineering lead at Redbeacon. The site began serving the San Francisco Bay area at launch, and then expanded into Seattle/Tacoma in September 2010, Washington D.C. in early 2011 and San Francisco, Seattle, […]

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March 3, 2011

‘Strawberry Zest’ Added To Home Depot’s VIVA! Brand

‘Strawberry Zest’ is the latest of the ‘Zest’ petunias from Dömmen’s Potunia breeding line, joining ‘Lemon Zest’ and ‘Orange Zest.’ The variety was specifically chosen for the premium VIVA! brand at The Home Depot and will be available in all stores nationally this spring. ‘Strawberry Zest’ has veined pink blooms and works well in patio pots, hanging baskets or in the garden. It will form a mound of color up to 12-inches high and 18-inches wide. The growth habit and high bloom count make it a solid performer for the consumer. Lisa Heredia, program coordinator for VIVA!, said “Strawberry Zest is on trend with this year’s hottest spring color–pink. The bright pink hue of the bloom, along with the darker pink veining will make it appealing to many gardeners, particularly women.”

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February 15, 2011

Home Depot To Hire 60,000 For Spring Black Friday

Home Depot announced Tuesday it would hire more than 60,000 additional seasonal workers in time for its Spring Black Friday events. Those events are based on the start of the spring season in each market and will roll out during four different weekends in spring. The hirings will occur during February and March. Also, Home Depot will be adding new full-time and part-time positions for the second year in a row. “As we have stated in the past, spring is our Christmas and traffic is at its highest during this season,” says Craig Menear, executive vice president for merchandising, in a statement released Tuesday. “Hiring seasonal associates and offering door-busting deals will ensure our customers have all of the service, know-how and value they need as they look to take on outdoor projects to improve the appearance of their home.” During Spring Black Friday, Home Depot will “significantly” reduce prices […]

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February 11, 2011

Snapdragons Enter Home Depot’s VIVA! Line

[imageviewer] Snapdragons will be available at Home Depot this spring in the VIVA! line, including varieties with variegated foliage called ‘Snap Daddy’ and ‘Snap Happy.’ ‘Snap Daddy’ has spikes of bright yellow blooms while ‘Snap Happy’ has bright pink blooms. Full to part sun and well-drained soil are the best growing conditions for the duo. They’ll grow up to 18 inches tall and 10 inches wide. They’re hardy to USDA Zone 7 and will survive even colder with protection. ‘Snap Daddy’ was bred by ItSaul while ‘Snap Happy’ is from Hishtel. Learn more about VIVA! plants at www.vivagarden.com.

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December 20, 2010

Home Depot 2011 Insights From Its Investor And Analyst Conference

The Home Depot shared a look into 2011 plans and forecasting during its December Investor and Analyst Conference. Here’s a look at how the big box retailer is feeling about 2011 and how it plans to get to know its customers even better. 2011 Changes. The Home Depot projects a sales increase in the 2.0 to 2.5 percent range for 2011. The chain plans to add 10 new stores in 2011: seven in Mexico, two in the United States and one in Canada. Economic Indicators. GDP is the economic indicator that The Home Depot will look to in 2011 for forecasting sales, replacing the new square footage housing turnover number. “It used to be a good indicator, but today it’s not that relevant,” said Carol Tome, CFO and executive vice president. She said foreclosures and home prices aren’t good indicators either, as they’re not major drivers of sales. The current age […]

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