Exhibitor and visitor feedback highlighted that Glee is the vital business-building tool that the industry both wants and needs; with the show’s renewed focus on core garden retail interests warmly received.
This year’s Glee offered an unrivalled international mix of big name brands and niche suppliers from across the garden, landscaping, home and leisure sectors. In total 527 suppliers exhibited at the 2012 show, including 201 brand new exhibitors to Glee, and 34 companies returning. In addition – in a year that saw garden retailers face significant challenges, as well as Glee benefitting from a more tailored focus – the show’s visitor numbers continued to reflect the tenacious attitude of the market. Glee 2012 saw an increased number of multiple retailers visiting, such as Next, Amazon, Argos, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. With 9,112* visitors flocking to the show from 54 countries, leading garden centres from across the UK also attended in force, including Dobbies, The Garden Centre Group, Blue Diamond, Barton Grange, Haskins, Scotsdales, Garsons and Woodcote Green. Nick Davison, Glee event director, comments: “It is vital when looking at the visitor numbers for the 2012 show to consider that this year Glee went through a period of significant change and development, particularly in relation to how Glee worked for independent pet retailers. One aspect of this was our strategic decision to end the Petindex licence agreement, and instead incorporate pet manufacturers within the main body of Glee. There is no doubt that this will have impacted upon this year’s visitor numbers – however the overall picture is still a positive one.
“Glee 2012 no doubt delivered a garden retail audience of quality, who came to the show to do business, source suppliers and make real, tangible decisions. In fact, our garden related visitor numbers were only down seven per cent year-on-year, which is particularly positive considering current market conditions and what was deemed by many as one of the worst years for garden retailing for quite some time. Also, when we put this data into context, Glee has actually performed ahead of current market trends. In the HTA October Market Update report for example, garden centre sales are quoted as being 10 per cent down year-on-year as the weather, consumer confidence and economic issues continue to impact.
“We won’t however be resting on our laurels”, concludes Nick Davison. “It has been great to hear so many positive comments from exhibitors and the industry in regards to the quality audience that Glee 2012 delivered, but there is still a lot of work to be done to build on this. Over the coming months we’ll be investing a lot of our resources to ensure that we draw more buyers to the show in 2013.”
During 2012, Glee invested in a number of new features targeted at helping garden centres grow their businesses through the inclusion of trends, new products and new sectors of investment. These included The Trend Tunnel, Shop Window, and Glee Guided Tours. A popular new visitor feature, The Food & Catering Zone, in partnership with Vision Commercial Kitchens, reflected the current rapid growth of food and catering as garden centre profit-makers, providing insight into how garden centres owners could incorporate this new revenue stream into their business. The show’s raft of informative workshops and seminars taking place in the Knowledge Hub, run in association with the HTA, were also well attended across all three days of the show.
Nick Davison added: “As always Glee has proven itself to be a barometer for the industry it represents. The feedback we collected both during and since the show has shown that Glee is something that the industry firmly wants and needs. We are of course dedicated to delivering this. We recognise that we need to continue to build a show that remains relevant, and provides the right platform for business to be done. Whilst we have our own ideas on how to do this, the ongoing advice, feedback and support of the industry is also vital: we cannot build a show that works, without the input of those that use it. We will therefore continue to engage with the industry as we plan for the 2013 show.”
One company that recognises the value of Glee is Bosmere. Steve Millington, sales director, commented at the show: “This is our 32nd year of exhibiting at Glee, so we have been supporting the show and industry for over 30 years. As a company of innovation, we are always striving to be ahead of the competition and develop products that are fit for purpose. Glee is an absolute must – an annual showcase to meet existing customers and target new business from theUK and overseas. With that in mind, we always try to make our stand different and book bigger space every year! The Bosmere stand has been buoyant with quality visitors across the three days, resulting in a lot of new deals and orders.”