Essential reading for retailers and suppliers in the home improvement market
The Tesco Spring-Summer outdoor living press show last week was dominated by acid bright picnicware and fashion-led items such as coordinating deck chairs, cool bags, tableware and cushions (in a hibiscus flower print with two colour choices - blue and green or magenta and orange). However, there was also evidence of an emerging credible garden offer. A large range of Suttons Seeds grow kits, many of them aimed at children, should go down well with parents doing the weekly shop. And pester-power sales should be boosted by the children's garden tool kits, six-pieces in a fabric carry bag for just £5, with co-ordinating buckets and watering cans. Colour choices are yellow or pink - the latter a colour that was prevalent throughout the range.

Many of the lines are about achieving a 'look' quickly and easily. And nothing exemplified this fast-finish theme more than a Keter modular shed. Made entirely of plastic, the shed, which has an integral base, can be put together at home in just 12 minutes (who knew shed-building was competitive?)

There were the unavoidable cheap deals you'd expect from the UK's largest retailer - a six-piece garden furniture set for £60 for example. More surprising was the set next to it - a beautiful Alexander Rose distressed teak table and eight chairs priced at £2,699 from Tesco Direct.

This polarisation carried through into other lines such as barbecues, where the options ran from a £15 portable bucket barbecue up to a £299 three-burner 'Alazka White' gas model.

However, perhaps most telling of all was the presence of the Dobbies brand. Garden tools such as spades and forks under the 'Dobbies Select' brand, form part of a more considered range. Evidence perhaps that Tesco is preparing to leverage its position as owner of the second largest garden centre retail chain in the UK. Could 2011 be the year the group blurs the line between the two retail brands, that have thus far been kept very distinct, and makes the move from a few high volume garden lines to a real gardening offer?
View User Profile for Will Parsons Blog entries from Will Parsons, former editor of DIY Week and

Posted by Will Parsons | 1 February 2011 | 09:52 | More from: Will Parsons' blog


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