Retail Report: Big Changes At Box Stores

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery visited big box garden centers Sunday, March 21 throughout Tampa, Fla. Below are his findings:

It was a cool wet day Sunday (March 21) with extremely heavy afternoon rains. The temperature was in the 60s. In the morning, there was fairly good store traffic until the rains came and, of course, everything came to a standstill.

It was apparent looking at the shelves that Saturday was a huge day. Many shelves were empty and a few stores had little inventory. Although it was not an ideal day for gathering information, I visited 21 stores including, seven Walmarts, six Lowe’s, six Home Depot and a Costco and Sam’s Club.

Walmart

Walmart has had some of the better stores I have seen in the last two spring seasons. It has good quality products that are well merchandised and a simplified product portfolio. Last year, Walmart offered the Calliope geranium in 12-inch hanging baskets for $20. This year that same size is $13.

Walmart had a new SKU – the Confetti Garden, a Dümmen concept in an 8-inch Confetti logo pot – retailing for $5.75.  Between the packaging and the well-grown plants with a lot of flowers, this SKU was more eye-catching than anything I have seen this year.

Another notable Walmart item was a generic 4-inch vegetable program with staked tomatoes displayed in a tray with a large flat talker sign on each tray. Vegetables were selling for $0.95, arguably the best vegetable value of the season

Lowe’s

At Lowe’s there were some notable changes in its “Grow Your Own” (GYO) edibles program:

• The quart price is now $3.48 versus the $2.48 price point I saw in South Florida two weeks ago. This puts them at parity with the Bonnie Plants 5-inch plants.
• The 1-gallon tomato program offers only the Beefsteak variety.
• Cabbage has been added to the quart program and was on sale at $2.48.

Two stores had the GYO quart herbs on sale at $1.74, versus $3.48. Two stores had 1-gallon GYO tomatoes on sale at $2.99, versus the standard price of $5.98. It appeared as though the Bonnie Plant vegetables had a much higher sales velocity than the GYO program, possibly because it is a new program the consumer is unfamiliar with.

Home Depot

Bonnie Plants remains the sole supplier of vegetables and herbs, and it appears as though sales velocity is strong. Its “Black Friday is Back” promotion must have been a success, because the 606-pack promotion cleared many tables and carts. The Proven Winners promotion must have been successful, as well, because there were very low inventories in all stores. The 12-inch premium basket promotion seems to be effective again with very low inventories.

The 10-inch hanging basket SKU was gone in some stores after being promoted at $4.98. There were still good inventories of Viva and Vigor items. 

Costco

Costco offered a nice array of spring items along with an early Easter lily SKU. All items would be considered good consumer values:

• A gorgeous premium orchid retailing at $22.99, from Kerry’s.
• 14-inch patio combos retailing at $24, from Sunshine Growers.
• 10-inch patio pots at $13.99 from Sunshine Growers.
• 6-inch Calla lilies in an attractive sandstone ceramic retailing at $14.99.
• 10-inch Easter lilies, 3 ppp, retailing at $15.99. Also included some Asiatic lilies.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s was getting prepared for Easter with a nice selection of high-quality bulb products:

• 8-inch attractive fluted ceramic bowls with 12 tulips retailing at $19.26
• 10 tulips in a tin container with Spanish moss at $18.83
• 11-inch patio pot squares with 10 hyacinths retailing at $15.38
• 3-pack of 6-inch Easter lilies retailing at $16.88

Summary

Although Sunday was wet and cool, the previous Friday and Saturday were seemingly very busy at retail. There is more space devoted to edibles and I am seeing an overall expansion of the category, with many more herbs and lots of berries on the shelves. Promotion like Home Depot’s buy-one, get-one-free 606 promotion is very effective at driving store traffic.

Also noticeable this year is growers are shipping more items with fuller color than ever before. This speaks well for driving increased sales. Growers I talk to indicate there is a pent-up demand because of the rugged winter many parts of the country faced this year. We agree once the weather is right, this may be one of the better seasons in the past five years.

Retail Prices: Tampa, Fla.
 

Item Size Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart
Annuals Basic 606 1.49 0.74  
  209     5.50
  T-18 9.96 9.98  
  4 inch 0.89-0.99 0.99 0.95
  6 inch 2.97 2.97 2.50
Premium annuals        
Geraniums 6 inch 3.97 4.48 3.50
Confetti Garden 8 inch     5.75
  Quart     3.00
  6 inch 4.97   3.50
GCS annuals Quart   3.48  
GCS annuals 1 G   5.48  
GCS annuals 8 inch   7.98  
GCS perennials 1 G   5.48  
Wave 4 inch   2.00  
Wave 6 inch   3.98  
Proven Winners 4.25 inch 3.97    
Viva 1 G 3.97    
Vigoro Quart 2.97    
Vigoro 1G 3.97    
Hanging baskets        
Basic 10 inch 4.98 6.98 7.00
Premium 10 inch   10.98 9.00
Strawberry-fiber 11 inch   17.98  
Item Size Home Depot Lowe’s Walmart
Premium 12 inch 9.98   13.00
Calliope Geranium GCS 12 inch   19.98 13.00
Coco fiber 14 inch   22.98  
Patio pots 10 inch   11.98-12.98 11.50
Fiber pot 12 inch 19.98    
Color bowl 12 inch   11.98  
Pillar geranium 13 inch   22.98  
Color bowl 14 inch 9.98    
Window box 20 inch     11.00
Vegetables 4 inch     0.95
Bonnie vegetables 9 pack 3.48 3.48 3.00
" 3 inch 1.98    
" 4 inch 2.98 2.98 3.00
" 5 inch 3.48 3.48 3.25
" 1 G 5.98 5.98 5.00
Tomatoes caged 10 inch   12.89 10.00
Grow Your Own Quart   3.48  
GYO 1G   5.98  
GYO berries 8 inch   9.98  
Herb bowl 12 inch   9.98  

 

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

Latest Stories
Craig Regelbrugge

July 23, 2017

Horticulture Industry Insiders Offer Tips on Communicat…

With immigration in the spotlight and a national budget that could severely impact horticulture industry programs, it’s more important than ever to be vocal about how the decisions that lawmakers are implementing impact your business.

Read More

July 22, 2017

Craig Regelbrugge: Proposed Budget Cuts Could Eliminate…

President Trump’s proposed budget for the 2018 fiscal year includes significant cuts to the Agricultural Research Service, which supports the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative.

Read More

July 21, 2017

New Products Zone at Cultivate’17 Features Goods …

The New Products zone is always a popular exhibit at Cultivate’17. Here’s a sampling of some of the many items on display that could make growing easier than ever before.

Read More
EOE Ushio Sakazaki On Stage

July 20, 2017

Highlights from Greenhouse Grower’s Evening Of Excellen…

Greenhouse Grower held its annual Evening of Excellence event on Monday, July 17, during Cultivate’17. The Greenhouse Grower Evening Of Excellence awards reception celebrates greenhouse operations and plant breeders that strive for excellence, and as to be expected, there was much of that to be found during the event.

Read More
Terra Nova Shipping Box

July 20, 2017

Terra Nova Nurseries, Dümmen Orange to Partner on Unroo…

Terra Nova Nurseries has contracted with Dümmen Orange to produce unrooted cuttings (URCs) from Terra Nova private stock located at Dümmen Orange’s Central America facilities. The URCs will fulfill orders in North America and Europe.

Read More
Jon Gordon

July 20, 2017

Nine Practices for Positive Leadership That Drive Chang…

Cultivate’17 keynote speaker Jon Gordon encouraged leaders to keep moving forward and confront negativity to create a cohesive, committed team.

Read More

July 20, 2017

New Perennials, Trial Gardens, and Merchandising Were H…

Darwin Perennials Day has steadily become one of the must-attend perennial events of the summer. This year, even the weather cooperated.

Read More
Luxfloraflowerrun17

July 20, 2017

Luxflora Attracted Even More Participation to its Secon…

More than 170 runners kicked off Cultivate'16 on Sunday, July 16, with Luxflora's second annual 5k race. It was a great way to start the week, participants said.

Read More
Fluence Bioengineering

July 19, 2017

New Videos Highlight Grower Experiences in Shifting to …

Fluence Bioengineering recently produced two videos in which growers in the U.S. and overseas describe why they switched lighting systems.

Read More
Florida Nursery Economic Impact

July 18, 2017

Florida’s Nursery and Greenhouse Industry Has a Huge Ef…

A new economic impact study from the University of Florida says the green industry contributes more than $21 billion in sales and 230,000 jobs to the Sunshine State’s economy.

Read More
EOE Joe Lara, Aron Hoff, Laura Drotleff

July 18, 2017

Aron Hoff of Meyers Fruit Farms and Greenhouses Named H…

"Everyone on my team is an inspiration, and this award is a testament to what they've done in challenging me to always do better," said Hoff in accepting the award, which was presented during Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence program.

Read More
EOE Micandy Gardens

July 18, 2017

Micandy Gardens Greenhouses Named Operation of the Year…

"Our team works with passion and has a common goal and purpose: to share the beauty of plants and nature with the world," said Micandy Gardens President Marcelyn Buist-Byl in accepting the award, which was presented during Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence program.

Read More
EOE Syngenta

July 17, 2017

Greenhouse Grower Honors 2017 Medal of Excellence Breed…

Greenhouse Grower’s Evening of Excellence at Cultivate’17 was a celebration of the 2017 Medal of Excellence Winners that embody the best in breeding, marketing, and growing, and typify the dedication to quality that is so prevalent in our industry. Check out who the big winners were.

Read More
2018 Ball Seed Catalog

July 17, 2017

Ball Seed’s 2018 New Varieties Catalog Now Available

The expanded guide includes breakthrough breeding from Ball in annuals, perennials, vegetables, potted plants, and more.

Read More
Pleasant View Open House

July 16, 2017

Pleasant View Gardens, D.S. Cole Growers Hosting Open H…

The event gives horticulture industry professionals the chance to check out nearly 80 new introductions from Proven Winners, as well as Pleasant View’s new Savor Edibles & Fragrants line.

Read More
National Garden Bureau 2018 Year of the Calibrachoa

July 15, 2017

National Garden Bureau Announces Featured Plants for it…

Plant classes recognized include bulb crops (tulip), annuals (calibrachoa), vegetables/edibles (beet), and perennials (coreopsis).

Read More
Danziger Hosts Indian Prime Minister

July 14, 2017

Danziger Hosts Indian Prime Minister, Demonstrates Inno…

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi landed in Israel July 4 with his delegation to explore possible cooperation with Israel, the group’s first stop was the Danziger facility at Mishmar Hashiva’a.

Read More

July 13, 2017

20 Things You Need to Know Before You Head to Cultivate…

Whether you are a first-time Cultivate attendee or a seasoned veteran, it’s important to be prepared before you make the trip to Columbus, OH, for one of the floriculture industry’s largest events. Before you leave, here are 20 things to plan ahead for prior to departing.

Read More