In like a lion, out like a lamb

My friend, Dean Chaloupka, offers the following commentary on the spring season:

Talking with growers around the country, most did very well through the peak of the Spring 2009 season and have seen sales drop off during June. Depending on what part of the country you are in, this could be viewed as significant (North) or not (South).

I won’t go into the economic factors which contibuted to the industry fairing well through most of the Spring but will touch on a couple which growers and retailers should think about as softer June sales have reminded us.

1. While consumers stayed home in Spring and focused on decorating their homes and yards, the economy is still on peoples minds and many consumers are on budgets. Consumers will not spend as freely as in better economic times.

2. People will make their purchases last longer. Plants will be maintained and not pulled out and replanted as often.

3. Disposable income still plays a role in how much people will purchase for plant material. Gasoline has started to move upward again and can impact sales going forward if the trend continues.

4. Consumers need a reason continue to purchase plant material. Later in the season, new and fresh planters, baskets, etc will generate new sales but it should not be expected that left over flats, 4″, 6″ pots and items which are the same thing consumers saw earlier will meet a need. At this time, consumers will no longer “grow” the plant.

It is my expectation that consumers will view plants and horticultural products for the rest of 2009 just as they have done in June. They will need to be enticed to decorate and the same old products, plants, packaging, and messages will not do it.

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One Response to In like a lion, out like a lamb

  1. Scott Titus says:

    We hit a trifecta this year in the Northwest with such a severe winter that every Rosemary in the state died. Zonal denial was given a reality check when temperatures dipped to 16 degrees the first week of March.Four days before the full moon in April (Palm Sunday) The weather cooperated perfectly with sunny weekends with mild showers mid-week. This went on until it stopped raining all together in mid May. Late May brought record breaking 90 degree temperatures followed by breaking another record of 29 consecutive days without measurable rainfall. It rained on the first day of summer but has been dry since with temperatures barely breaking 70 degrees. While people with jobs got busy replacing much of their landscapes, other less fortunate folks, planted vegetable gardens causing runs on tomato plants on Mothers Day. We wholesalers have been blessed with the most ideal growing conditions of our lifetime. Clear blue sky, and 16 plus hours of 10,000 footcandles of light make for some pretty ausome perennials and annuals. The retailers are all doing well, which is a big relief considering we all went into spring with alot of apprehension about the economic conditions.Scott Titus Windy Meadow

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