Dobbies CEO and former Wyevale boss, Nicholas Marshall has joined the line-up of speakers for this year’s HTA Garden Futures Conference, where he will be interviewed by journalist Cathy Newman.
Mr Marshall, who boasts over 30 years’ experience in the garden centre sector, will be interviewed by conference host, journalist and news presenter Cathy Newman, who will quiz him on his views on topics such as the future of the industry, the potential impact of Brexit, changing demographics and the consumer and the impact of technology within retail
During his career, Mr Marshall founded and built two garden centre chains, Country Gardens PLC and Country Homes and Gardens PLC, before taking on the role of CEO of Wyevale Garden Centres for four years, taking it from near administration to a successful sale for £300m.
Garden retail – the great escape – is the theme for this year’s HTA Garden Futures Conference and dinner which is attracts delegates from across the garden industry, from business owners, to directors and managers.
The theme is designed to reflect the role of both gardens and garden centres as an escape and focuses on the benefits, positive role and unique opportunities that this provides for the industry. It also tackles key issues impacting the sector, such as Xylella fastidiosa.
Also, joining the programme is Rachel Lund from the British Retail Consortium (BRC). Ms Lund heads up the BRC’s Insight and Analytics team and is responsible for all of the BRC’s data gathering and market analysis activities including the Retail Sales and Footfall Monitors.
Other speakers include Josh McBain from the Foresight Factory, who will present on The Ageless Society, demonstrating how the changing demographic provides a huge opportunity for the garden industry with a big focus on experiences rather than material objects.
Jack Stratten from Insider Trends will look at technology in retail, highlighting the way in which developments can help to free up time to spend with customers.
Professor Alistair Griffiths from the RHS will look at the role of gardens, gardening and horticulture, ensuring that humans don’t lose touch with nature and how it can be used to provide preventative natural health and wellbeing care services.
In a session sponsored by Fiskars, botanist, science writer and broadcaster James Wong will be looking at how engaging with your outdoor space could dramatically improve your health and the way in which garden centres can utilise cross-category merchandising to help illustrate the benefit of plants.
Following on from the Retail Lab @ Glee there will also be a Retail Lab @ Garden Futures panel session looking at what the future holds for future retail environments and how retailers can use innovative ways of illustrating lifestyle themes.
Ensuring the sector is kept up to date with key issues, there will be a cross industry panel to discuss the threat of Xylella fastidiosa and the mitigating action required to protect the industry. Chaired by HTA Past President Adam Wigglesworth this panel session involves Colin Dale from Notcutts, Andy Smith from Klondyke Group, Jonathan Whitmore from Johnsons of Whixley, Dan Munro from APHA and Boyd Douglas-Davies from Hillview Garden Centres.
The conference is followed by the Garden Futures dinner which includes the presentation of the HTA Pearson Memorial Medal and The Greatest Garden Retail Awards, followed by an after dinner speaker.
The event, sponsored by Hozelock, takes place on Wednesday, October 4 at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire.
For more information or to book your place , visit www.hta.org.uk/gardenfutures