"The garden industry is a potentially serious player in the housewares industry," according to leading garden industry expert, Neil Gow.

Garden centres ‘want bigger share of housewares’

“The garden industry is a potentially serious player in the housewares industry,” according to leading garden industry expert, Neil Gow.

Garden centres 'want bigger share of housewares'

The director of the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association told this week’s inaugural Housewares Conference that housewares business within garden centres is already “big”.

The Webbs chain, for example, not only has food halls but also sells tableware such as Emma Bridgewater, bakeware, brushware, etc.

And Gow listed a host of reasons why more garden centres are interested in extending their business into the housewares market. Housewares are often impulse lines and self-service, and garden centres have good, established footfall. Unlike plants, housewares provide all-year-round business, and increasing numbers of garden centres are now already selling foods. Customers respond well to housewares within garden centres because of the ease of parking and male-friendly shopping environment. And, said Gow, the gardening and cooking customer demographics are the same.

He said that there were 1,600 garden centres in the UK, of which 200 were potential players within the housewares market. Up to 3% of their turnover could come from housewares, representing some £10m of retail sales – which one member of the audience said he thought was a conservative figure.

Garden centres’ interest in housewares is not necessarily a threat to established housewares retailers, said the speaker, because there were concession opportunities for cookshops.

And he also pointed to the huge growth in the GIY – grow-it-yourself – market. That, he said, was good for cookshops because if people were growing vegetables themselves they would have to cook them.

For full coverage of Neil Gow’s talk at the Housewares Conference, organised by HousewaresLive.net and Housewares Magazine, see Housewares Magazine’s April issue.

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