Waitrose branches out into horticulture

Alan Titchmarsh_for_webGrocer to grow horticulture market share with new gardening product ranges in shops and online Waitrose expert Alan Titchmarsh to share green-fingered gardening tips.

Waitrose is to branch out into the horticulture market with the launch of 6,000 gardening products devoted to helping customers grow their own flowers, fruit and veg. The retailer will aim to significantly increase its 6% share of the horticulture market* with the launch this week of a gardening and floristry range in shops called Waitrose Flower Garden and a website called Waitrosegarden.com

Waitrose Flower Garden will comprise 850 different flowers, plants, bulbs and seeds over the coming year as well as 80 gardening tools and garden care products. Elements of the Waitrose Flower Garden range will launch in all core shops by mid-April and a total of 41 branches will also dedicate at least 120 sq ft of outdoor space each to the range including an outdoor gardening ‘shed’ selling plants and gardening accessories. Customers will be able to pay for gardening purchases made outdoors using a cashless mobile till.

The range will include a variety of plants from topiary to herbs and fruit trees to herbaceous flowering plants. Prices range from £3 to £75 and all products have clear growing advice on labelling. A total of 40% of the in-shop flower range will be British and 20% supports the Waitrose Foundation in Kenya**.

In addition, Waitrosegarden.com, in association with the UK’s leading online garden supplier Crocus, will sell more than 5,000 horticulture products including pots, gardening tools, plants and seeds.

Alan Titchmarsh, who earlier this month came on board at Waitrose to help raise the profile of British agriculture and horticulture, will offer his expert gardening tips and green-fingered advice to Waitrose shoppers on the site.

Alan will share tips on garden care in the ‘how to’ area of the site including appearing in video clip demonstrations, write monthly musings on myriad subjects and pick his top 50 gardening products for each season. Customers will be able to sign up for a monthly e-newsletter containing exclusive access to seasonally relevant content.

Gardening is the second most popular pastime for Waitrose customers after cooking and the move builds on the success of Waitrose’s fresh-cut flowers and bouquets range Blossom & Bloom.

Waitrose marketing director, Rupert Thomas, said: “We are pleased to be able to offer such an inspirational range of floristry and gardening products. This will make us a serious player in what is already a hugely successful category for us.

“Together, Waitrosegarden.com and the Waitrose Flower Garden range will offer something for everyone - from those who are keen to grow their own flowers, fruit and veg but aren’t sure where to start, to those with greener fingers. The offer will change frequently throughout the seasons to give customers new ideas during the year.

“The nation’s favourite gardener Alan Titchmarsh will provide invaluable tips and, combined with the excellent service you can expect from our Partners who have received extra training in this area, customers can feel confident having a go at cultivating that empty patch of outdoor space or trying something new to brighten up their garden.”

* According to Nielsen figures for the 52 weeks to February 23, 2013.

**The Waitrose Foundation was founded in 2005 and has raised in excess of £5.5m to fund more than 300 projects to improve the lives of the farm workers who work on Waitrose Foundation farms and smallholdings in Africa and their communities in which they live. Waitrose Foundation farms grow and harvest fruit in South Africa, flowers and vegetables in Kenya and fresh prepared fruit in Ghana.

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