How High?

How High?

by Danny Summers

This question may be in many Garden Center Owners' and Managers' minds today relative to sales and business in general for 2021. While we may have thought the growth seen in 2020 to be an anomaly, indications so far for 2021 point to continued growth. With more Group Centers now open and reporting in the Weekly Department Review (WDR) we are beginning to see a clearer view of what the season and year may be like for everyone.

In studying our 2020 results, we saw the increases came through a combination of growth in both Average Sale (about 1/3) and Transaction Counts (about 2/3). In the back of our minds has been the question, "Can our Centers reconnect and attract all the new customers from 2020?"

Week 12 of the WDR reported last Friday show the answer to be... YES, YOU CAN!

Year-to-Date Sales are out-pacing numbers from 2020 through a combination of Average Sale (about 1/4) and Transaction Counts (about 3/4). The shift toward slightly higher increases in Transaction Counts is understandable given Centers not having the constraints for business hours and general operation  they faced in 2020.

"It isn't the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it's the pebble in your shoe."

One of the most memorable moments for us here in Atlanta was to see who would like the Olympic torch in the summer of 1996. The quote here by Muhammad Ali is very fitting is very fitting to where we are here in Week 14, and fitting with the great achievements he had accomplished and then with great physical challenges (his pebble at the time) was honored by opening the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. You can relive our excitement in this 3 minute video HERE. There are some "mountains" ahead for all our Centers in the coming weeks to match or beat the 2020 weekly sales results. Here's a couple thoughts...

A Better Position - You have to agree that you are much better prepared for this spring than last. You have learned so much through the challenges you faces in 2020. I hope you are also better positioned this year with your staff as well.

What's Your Pebble? Hearing many of your comments across the country and reading the horticultural "tea leaves", I believe most of us will agree it is most likely availability of plants and other supporting inventory. Last year's success certainly put strains on this year's early crop availabilities, and coupled with recent winter storms, so some of this spring's challenges will certainly be having all the plants you need to satisfy the customer.

You don't have this, so sell them that. I seem to remember Sid Raisch saying this during last month's GROUPtalk LIVE Series sessions. His point was customers tend to come in looking for something for a particular spot or use, usually based on size, color, etc. Typically they are not plant-specific so to guiding them to something you do have that can work is where the opportunity lies.

And let's face it, when the customer can roam your Center looking rather than calling for something to buy at CURB-SIDE as they did last spring... it should be amazingly better!

We all will be watching your numbers each week. Remember, you have a large community of fellow Centers doing the same things you are so when you run up against a challenge ahead, reach out to The Group through our Service Providers and eLists to share the details and find the answers.

How High Will Your Success Be in 2021?

We can't wait to see!

Sharing is at the heart of The Group and your ideas are very important. Are you and your staff all subscribed to our eLists such as GroupEs, Retail-Grower, Retail-Landscape, Owners-Only, and a number of others? Need help subscribing? Let me know as I can show you how you can sign up.

Thanks for sharing!

Danny Summers
[email protected]
Tel: 678-909-7770
Cell: 678-761-7145

REMEMBER: Your interaction (by phone and email) with Group Service Providers such as Steve Bailey, Tim Quebedeaux, Sid Raisch, Robert Hendrickson, John Kennedy, Jean Seawright, and of course Danny Summers are included in your retainer!

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