All comments to be attributed to Mark Portman, MD at Evergreen Garden Care, UK & Ireland:
This January, we’ve been looking back on 2020 and the unprecedented times we all lived through. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry performed well. Gardening grew by 13% in value and year to date, the category is worth £461m.
As a company, Evergreen Garden Care had a strong year. Though we did put several colleagues on furlough in April, I’m pleased to say that we have since repaid 100% of the furlough money back to the government.
With Lockdown 3.0 now in place we have garden centres in England open reflecting the work done by the HTA to emphasise the importance of gardening and value to consumers of being able to garden and visit garden centres.
Evergreen Garden Care continues to follow all the latest COVID-19 safety measures to ensure that our manufacturing and distribution centres stay open and operate safely, and where colleagues at these can work remotely, they are remaining at home. We are operating a seven-day per week shift pattern to meet the ongoing high demand for products. The research and development station at Levington is also open so the team continues to develop the NPD pipeline with secure COVID-19 measures in place.
With the UK currently in lockdown and only garden centres in England open, our sales reps in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are holding their customer meetings virtually. In England, where garden centres remain open, a physical visit is taking place only when requested by customers and in those situations our team is respecting Covid-19 protocols to ensure everyone remains safe.
There’s a higher than ever demand for garden care products, particularly growing media. Since March 2020 we have seen 2.7 million new households take up gardening, indicating that more people are taking advantage of the physical and mental wellbeing benefits.
We’re expecting demand to stay high into 2021 and we’ll be focusing on retaining these new gardeners, as well as supporting customers with our existing consumer base.
As we prepare for the start of the 2021 season our priority remains the safety of all of our employees and customers. We are building stock in anticipation to meet consumer demand, and we are confident that we are ready for another strong year.
To find out more visit www.lovethegarden.com