Every year Garden Retail magazine in the U.K. announces the Power Fifty, the fifty most influential people in British horticultural retailing.
There are always a few surprises when such a list is produced, but it does focus the mind on the major players in this retail sector.
The top four in the power 50 indicate how the industry is changing. Number one was Sir Tom Hunter, the founder of West Coast Capital, a billionaire who is developing Wyevale Garden Centers into Outdoor Living Shopping malls. No 2 was Sir Terry Leahy, Chief Executive Officer of Tesco who has recently purchased the Dobbies chain of garden centers. In third place is Lucy Neville-Rolfe, the Corporate and legal affaris director of Tesco and chairperson of Dobbies. Jim Hodkinson, the Chief Executive Officer for Wyevale is in fourth spot.
Jamie Oliver, the chef and T.V. presenter came in at number 7, this indicates how important the food sector is in the horticultural scene today.
14. John Stanley, Retail consultant
A glance at Stanley’s diary for 2008 reveals how much in demand he is – there are numerous trips to Australia, New Zealand, the US, UK, Spain, South Africa and Italy.
He has worked with garden retailers in the UK for several years now and his ideas on how to reach the next generation of consumers will prove invaluable in coming years.
He is a strong advocate of marketing to “Generation X” consumers, a message that will become even more important as the baby-boomers begin to retire. The extensive travel Stanley undertakes each year gives him access to various trends from around the world.
While there may be those in the industry who believe some of his ideas are wide of the mark, his seminar at last September’s Four Oaks Trade Show on how to increase garden centre sales was oversubscribed.
It is expected his talks at this year’s Glee – “Global Changes”, “Goals of Garden Centres”, and “Opportunities to Grow Your Business in Competitive Times” will be similarly in demand and a highlight of the annual trade show.