By Jerry Montgomery, Chicago Retail Market Tour:

"US (IL): "Growing number of patio containers, hanging baskets on the shelves"

"The weather was ideal with nights in the mid-60s and day temperatures rising to the mid-80s with a 10-15 mph breeze all three days. The garden centers in Chicago were jam packed with customers all buying some type of green goods. We saw the largest selection of patio containers of the year in Chicago with Home Depot leading the way in sizes and price points."

This is explained by Jerry Montgomery in his Retail Market report. He is a marketing consultant in the horticulture market and listed the assortment and retail prices of six retailers in Florida. On May 28-30, he visited the following retailers: Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Meijer, Menard’s, Jewel Osco, Costco, Sam’s Club, Gobbert’s Farm, Alsip Nursery, Schaefer’s Greenhouse, Heinz Brothers Garden Center.

According to Montgomery, patio containers and hanging baskets appear to be some real areas of growth based on the number of SKUs and the inventories on the shelves. "Some of the brands seem to be growing and doing well especially the Wave that was on the shelves at every store we visited, the IGCs are exploiting its popularity with prices are high as $14.99 for a 306 pack. The Proven Winner brand was on the shelves at most stores we visited but not in the number of SKUs or the size of the inventories offered by the Wave brand. Hort Couture was also offered by Heinz Bros."

He also saw some small displays of the HGTV brand Menards’. "And Heinz Bros., the Rio brand of Dipladenia was present at Lowe’s but not in the quantities we saw in the South. There was new brand called Deckorations from J. Berry Nursery featuring Hibiscus and Holly in upscale containers in a 9” tall container retail $29.98."

"The Home Depot had a new line of premium vegetables in upscale containers featuring a 12” bowl for $19.98 add a cage to the bowl for $24.98 and a bowl with hanger for $19.98 a real premium line of veggies focusing on Heirloom varieties."

"One of the elements of merchandising that is apparent not only in this market but also in others and that is how to display patio containers and hanging baskets to maximize sell-through and drive increased comps. Because the Chicago market offered larger patio pots and baskets than most others it becomes more apparent that placing these large containers too close together does have the visual impact intended."

According to Montgomery, some displays look like a sea of vegetation but when you space the containers they are gorgeous. "In hanging baskets, we saw at Gobbert’s Farm how displaying baskets at eye level or below creates a much more compelling look. We all know space is at a premium but maybe increased turnover and reduced discards should take some sort of priority."

Click here to view the entire retail report (PDF).

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