Poinsettia Retail Report

Marketing consultant Jerry Montgomery spent time last Friday visiting big box garden centers and supermarkets in Jacksonville, Fla. Here are his findings:

December 11 was a cool overcast day with temperatures in the 40s, but it did not seem to deter shoppers as they were in abundance at most retailers. Poinsettias and live Christmas trees were moving off shelves at a good pace. As we get to the end of poinsettia season discounts were starting to appear on select items. Most inventories were leaning to more red with very few novelties available.

Walmart

With a focus on fewer but high volume SKUs and high-performing vendors, Walmart has clearly enhanced the poinsettia category. Some stores have built attractive displays that garner the attention of their customers. Walmart’s seemingly biggest challenge is the outside displays with the potential of frost and rain. Product quality and packaging has improved year over year and I would suspect their store comps indicate such.

Lowe’s

Lowe’s offered an array of sizes and price points that included some nicely glittered items, hanging baskets and several items in color bowls.

Home Depot

Home Depot’s main focus was 6.5-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch poinsettias, as well as substantial inventories in mumsettia that did not seem to be moving very fast. Ice Punch was a separate marketing program in a 6.5-inch retailing at $9.99 with slightly upgraded packaging. It’s another item that doesn’t seem to have much sales traction.

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club offered the following poinsettia items:
–10-inch retailing at $15,98
–3 to 6-inch retailing $16.98
–Photo box with poinsettias and greenery that slots for photos on the sides retailing at $24.98.

Costco

Costco offered one item in the poinsettia category:
–10-inch retailing at $13.99, the lowest priced 10-inch of the year

Ace Hardware

Ace offered really nice quality poinsettias at very competitive prices and displayed well. The only issue is they have little traffic compared to the national retailers.

Publix Super Markets

I wanted to see how the leading supermarket in Florida marketed poinsettias. From what I saw, they will be challenging other leading retailers. The display was outside and the cold wet weather had taken a toll on the product quality that was originally pretty good.

Summary

There were clear signs the season is beginning to wind down with aging poinsettias, especially mumsettias. Markdowns were starting to appear on more items, and some stores displayed items that should have been discarded. Some of the markdowns were as follows:

–Lowe’s 12-inch Color Bowl Table Topper from $9.98 to $4.98 in one store.
–Lowe’s 6.5-inch from $4.98 to $3.98 price was dropped in all Jacksonville area stores, and I have seen that price in many other Florida stores.
–Lowe’s had a 50 percent off cart display of past prime items in one store.
–Walmart dropped the price of 6-inch from $3.50 to $2 in one store.
–Walmart dropped the price of 8-inch from $10 to $9 in a number of stores.

We would expect to see a lot of markdowns (this) week.

There is a lack of creative displays in most retail locations with many poinsettias displayed packed tight on carts in sleeves. Many times you see tables of red poinsettias without any color blocking of other colors that certainly would make a more compelling and appealing look. Many times, poinsettias displayed on tables are packed so tight it looks like a sea of red–but when you reach in to pull out an individual plant, there is breakage and this leads to markdowns and discards.

The way many poinsettias are displayed, the consumer has to work at selecting a plant. How many consumers buy a plant that is sleeved and when they get home the disappointment sets in?

The season seems to be variable with unseasonably wet weather in Florida that has slowed store traffic after a great start on Black Friday. I would except the poinsettias season to be flat to down as much as 5 percent based on the decline over the past two seasons–and because of a consumer who is under a lot of economic pressure.

The industry really needs to jumpstart the poinsettia category with more creativity and more consumer communication.

Table 1. Retailers Visited Jacksonville, Florida

Retailer
Store Number Location Vendor Vendor
Walmart 1225 Orange Park Metrolina Dewar
Walmart 1090 Jacksonville Metrolina Dewar
Walmart 1082 Jacksonville Metrolina Dewar
Walmart 1173 Jacksonville Metrolina Dewar
Walmart 1444 Jacksonville Metrolina Dewar
Walmart 5054 Jacksonville Metrolina Dewar
Walmart 3702 Jacksonville Metrolina Dewar
Lowe’s 1897 Orange Park   Dewar
Lowe’s 0502 Jacksonville   Dewar
Lowe’s 0503 Jacksonville   Dewar
Lowe’s 1699 Jacksonville   Dewar
Lowe’s 2472 Jacksonville   Dewar
Lowe’s 2970     Dewar
Home Depot 0226 Jacksonville Pure Beauty  
Home Depot 0270 Jacksonville Pure Beauty  
Home Depot 6365 Jacksonville Pure Beauty  
Home Depot 6346 Jacksonville Pure Beauty  
Home Depot 6935   Pure Beauty  
Home Depot 6369 Orange Park Pure Beauty  
Sam’s Club 8116 Jacksonville Metrolina  
Costco   Jacksonville N/A  
Ace Hardware     N/A  
Publix   Orange Park N/A  

Table 2. Retailers Prices, Jacksonville, Fla.

Items Size Walmart Lowe’s Home Depot Ace Publix
Poinsettias 4-inch   2.48   2.99  
  4.5-inch         3.99
  5-inch     2.97    
  6-inch 3.50-2.00       5.99
  6.5-inch   4.98-3.98 3.98 5.99 7.99*
Ice Punch 6.5-inch     9.99    
Glittered* 6.5-inch 7.00 8.98      
  8-inch 10.00-9.00 10.98 9.98    
Glittered* 8-inch   19.98      
  10-inch   14.98 14.98    
Hanging basket 10-inch   12.98 14.98 14.99  
Mumsettia 14-inch   9.98 9.98    
  12-inch   22.98      
Poinsettia Tree 14-inch   29.98      
Poinsettia/Ivy Bowl 12-inch   9.98      
Table Topper CB 12-inch   9.98-4.98      
Landscape Poinsettia 1G 3.00        
Poinsettia/Foliage Bowl 12-inch 15.00        
Centerpiece Silver Square 8-inch 15.00        

*Publix 6.5-inch consisted of novelties like ‘Monet.’
*Lowe’s glittered in both 6.5-inch and 8-inch were in upgrade tin containers.

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.

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