Stores Big On Plant Sales Vs. Stores With Diverse Products [Infographic]

Stores Big On Plant Sales Vs. Stores With Diverse Products [Infographic]

Garden stores are a diverse bunch. Some sell plants almost exclusively, while others focus more on a garden lifestyle, where plants are almost an afterthought. There are a lot of stores between those two extremes, and no two are alike.

But it’s fair to say that those who have most of their gross sales coming from plants tend to think those stores where plants generate less than half of annual sales are … not quite legitimate.


So we took a closer look at what kind of differences we could find between the two groups from how they responded to our 2015 retail State Of The Industry survey.

What was most striking was how few differences there were. Even if plants made up fewer than 50% of gross sales, there was a less than 10% difference in the number of stores who stocked all plant categories, with one exception. Plant-majority stores were 13.4% more likely to carry house plants and tropicals. In every other plant group, however, the numbers were very close.

The big differences come from diversity of products and the overall sales volume. Stores with less than 50% of gross sales stemming from plants tended to be bigger operations and were more likely to have holiday and gift departments, as well as big-ticket items like furniture.

Take a look at our infographic below. We highlight only those areas where the two groups diverged by more than 10% in their responses.



Leave a Reply

Sid Raisch says:

One may draw the conclusion that expanding the non plant categories would be the best way to increase revenues, and one may be correct. However, the danger in this assumption is that it is not balanced with the profitability of the overall company. Are the companies with greater non-plant sales more profitable? While it is possible to generate more profit with greater non-plant sales, this can be a very perilous path. Many retailers have found themselves with increased sales volume, increased debt, decreased margins, and much greater complexity of their business with less personal time off (if any) by doing so.

Jim says:

I was particularly surprised by the difference between the two groups in the category of landscape design. This should be an area for both groups that can be either extremely profitable or can be a drag if not done properly. I would echo all the same thoughts that Sid had in his previous comments as well.

Steve Bailey says:

Revenues do not equal Profitability. While I agree that a certain level of Revenues are necessary in all operations to cover Fixed Expenses, generally the Plant categories outperform the Hardgood categories at all levels. Stores usually push a rise in Revenues by adding on Hardgoods categories or subcategories without realizing the impact on the bottom line.
That said, some degree of a Plant/Hardgood Revenue mix is necessary and desired. Maximizing the Margin and Profit potential of Plants and offering the Hardgoods necessary for a customer’s success is essential.
I thought it interesting that “the majority of non-Plant centric stores still report Plants as their best performing product.”
My bottom line – the Revenue/Product mix, in other words aligning your store as a Plant Majority store, is a very big part of a store’s success.

kevinchiu says:

I see what’s being explained here. If we think about it the more a company diversifies the less risky it is. If person X comes in and is only looking for a certain item and that item isn’t in that store the store will not make a sale. If they have something for everyone they are more certain to get a sale.

For example when you pick up a plant and go to the registry to pay and there are some chips and beverages and your kid is asking you for chips the store will end up making a sale. As opposed to not having candy in the store because it should be all about plant sales. Of course diversification has a limit.

And yes revenues doesn’t equal profits. But even if you have a low gross profit margin, if you are making a large number of sales your profits are going to be higher than someone who sells less and has a higher profit margin anyways.