An increasing number of garden centres are seeking warehouse space to take stock control into their own hands following recent supply chain availability issues, says Malcolm Scott Consultants.
The pandemic created well-documented availability issues for the garden centre sector, including a UK-wide lack of garden furniture availability, and sector business development specialists Malcolm Scott Consultants said that the impact on turnover and processes has led to some centres taking steps to ensure such problems did not arise again.
Andrew Burton, retail specialist at Malcolm Scott Consultants, said that recent weeks had seen a surge in garden centres seeking the business’ support in applying for planning permission to either build new warehouses, or to convert existing buildings into storage space.
Andrew said: “As we all know, having stock available for customers is essential. The COVID-19 lockdowns accelerated the transition from some physical shopping to online shopping, with garden furniture being a prime example – partly due to the fact that customers ordered from other online retailers while centres were closed, but also because of the limited availability of such products when they were able to visit garden centres.
“The impact of Brexit and the pandemic has encouraged many retailers to make their supply chains shorter, and to hold stock closer to its end destination. As such, they are now recognising that additional warehousing space is a necessity to mitigate supply shortages.
“We know from extensive research that garden centre customers want to buy from their local centre where they can, so the key is having the stock available, and with that in mind, we are seeing an increasing number of businesses reviewing their buying models and plans, and either seeking to build new warehouses, or to apply for planning permission to convert existing buildings into storage space so that they canreceive their stock early and store it for the season ahead to fulfil customer demand,” he added.
Andrew said that clients are not limiting their warehousing requirements to bulk storage, businesses are also utilising their warehouses to support online shopping click-and-collect offering.
He added: “Time is of the essence in respect to fulfilling warehousing needs. Often planning applications can take between eight and thirteen weeks to be approved, and if a business has set its sights on constructing a larger warehouse for 2022, I would encourage them to contact us with their requirements as soon as they can.
“Further to a review of their site, our operations and town planning experts will be well placed to advance such applications to identify if they could be a viable option.”