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Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments

Death Spiral Economic conditions have caused many retailers (garden centers included) to reduce inventories. Whether they decided to reduce redundancy and confusion in their merchandise mix, or were simply over-buying and had too much inventory at the wrong time in the wrong amount, the net effect is less inventory on hand. Some retailers handle adjustment to reduced inventory better than others. This falls in line with my previous post on the Horticulture Zombieconomy, but takes it straight to the sales floor where the customer is involved directly.  Ted Hulbut suggests that retailers who aggressively reduce inventory may become Zombie Stores and Zombie Departments, but do they have an alternative?

What will happen when retailers adjust inventory to reduce unproductive items and to match customer traffic and sales levels? Continue reading

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Horticulture Zombieconomy

Mr. Umair Haque

Mr. Umair Haque

There has been a quiet but growing sound  of discomfort over something a gentleman you have probably not heard of said about the state of the response of American business to the economic situation. His characterization was about the Zombieconomy, and those comments were subject of a Harvard Business Publishing Ideacast.

Mr. Umair Haque may eventually be recorded in history with the likes of W. Edwards Deming, the man who America sent to Japan to help their industry, and specifically their auto industry and Toyota aided by its customers bring down the still misguided and arrogant US auto industry. Actually I think Umair will be much bigger. More importantly, he may do it better than Demming and wake us up before it’s too late. Continue reading

Building Upon An Old Plant Category

First it was Stepables, that brought excitement and expansion to a staple category – groundcover plants.

Stepables at The Garden Corner

Stepables at The Garden Corner

There is a merchandising rack system available for Stepables, but since they are sold in national big-box chains savvy independent garden centers seek to differentiate with creative displays such as the one shown above at The Garden Corner in Tualatin, (Portland) OR. Co-owner Tracy Karsseboom creatively located the classy shoes at a second hand store.

The category is ever-expanding with Plants That Work in Nooks & Crannies from Novalis, and Rock Stars from Valleybrook and others.

Continue reading

Inventory Adjustment

We’ll see a lot if we’ll just look. – We can watch, we can see, but WHAT will we see?

The buzz phrase in the garden center business this winter has become “inventory control”.  It has become trendy for garden centers to watch their inventory. They always should have. We will watch inventory come, we will watch it go but what will we see?

Continue reading

What Would Happen If You Could . . .

High Average Sale 2008 The Garden Center Group

What does it take to get the dramatically higher average transactions shown by the green line on this chart from The Garden Center Group ?

What would happen if you could increase your average transaction dramatically THIS year?

To find out what would happen do the Merchan+ Ma+h

Continue reading

You don’t have to be smart . . .

dollar-clouds

People within companies often argue about the silliest of things.

How likely do you think it is that one will come up with a better answer to a question that every other company has already answered?

It’s great to have the freedom of a small locally owned independent business to make your own decisions. It’s not smart to waste time and stretch relationships with arguments that have already been settled, and the results of those arguments proven out.

Continue reading

Use and Enjoy, or Own and Enjoy?

judy-stapler-100x100-low-res

Guest Blogger

Judy Stapler, Qualitative Insights

“Times have changed. Today people are more interested in what they will use and enjoy than they are in what they will own and enjoy.” Judy Stapler 11/08

You don’t need me to tell you how stressful it has become to live in this great country. While we serve a broad range of consumers, disposable income is becoming a thing of the past and every purchase can now be a major decision for some of them. Gas up the car? Buy food? Keep the home at a comfortable 70°– 72° or a more efficient 65°? Buy the art object or new car we’ve admired for months (now at a greatly reduced price) or decide to spend for something you can actually use. The net effect of this is that consumers at all income levels make decisions more purposefully. It is my opinion that come spring, we will see more people choose to buy those items they perceive that they actually need and can use and enjoy immediately rather than those they simply look at and enjoy owning over time.

Continue reading

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