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B&Q angers plant suppliers

Published: 21 April 2008
Retailer accused of using 'strong-arm' tactics to withdraw from orders.
B&Q's warning that it is overstocked with plants to the value of million of pounds and that it will not require pre-ordered lines has provoked suppliers into writing to the national press.

In letters sent to The Sunday Times, B&Q is accused of using of 'strong-arm tactics to withdraw from orders.

Plant suppliers have said the retailer has cut pre-orders to a 'fraction' of those agreed in a bid to halt sliding sales of plants.

The Sunday Times wrote that a letter sent by a B&Q buyer explains that pre-ordered plants will not be collected as sales are around a third of those forecast, and stated that it will be £1m overstocked.

In recent weeks, B&Q and Homebase cut the price of bedding plants.

Only a week ago a wild pack of pansies or violas were priced at £1.48; at Homebase a pack of 30 pansies were 1.99 (original price: £3.99).

A B&Q spokesperson has since said that 'face-to-face meetings' will take place this week to revise future volumes.

Meanwhile, a supplier of plants and bulbs to supermarkets has cut seven jobs to address tough trading and pressures from its customers.

The Butters Group in Spalding is investigating measures to improve the efficiency of its operations such as the removal of night shifts, and a reduction in overhead costs.

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