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Case date 2002

Hogsmeadow Garden Centre
Alan Betts

Don Dursley spread his arms widely as he surveyed his garden centre. ‘Of course the whole market for leisure products and services, especially garden-related products, has been expanding over the last few years. Even so, we have been particularly successful. Partly this is because we are conveniently located, but it is also because we have developed a reputation for excellent service. Customers like coming to us for advice. We have also been successful in attracting some of the ‘personality gardeners’ from television to make special appearances. My main ambition now is to fully develop all of our twelve hectares to make the centre a place people will want to visit in its own right. I envisage the centre developing into almost a mini gardening theme park with special gardens, beautiful grounds and special events.’

Hogsmeadow is a large village situated in the Cotswolds, a popular tourist area of the UK. It has an interesting range of shops and restaurants, mainly catering for the tourist trade. About half a mile outside the village is the Hogsmeadow Garden Centre. The garden centre is served by a good network of main roads but is inaccessible by public transport. Growth over the last five years has been dramatic and the garden centre now sells many other goods as well as gardening requisites. It also has a restaurant. It is open seven days a week, only closing on Christmas Day. Its opening hours are Monday– Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. all year round.

● Outside the centre
The centre has a large car park which can accommodate about 350 cars. Outside the entrance a map indicates the various areas in the garden centre. Most customers walk round the grounds before making their purchases. The length of time people spend in the centre varies but, according to a recent study, averages 53 minutes during the week and 73 minutes at weekends. The same study shows the extent to which the number of customers arriving at the garden centre varies depending on the time of year, day of the week, and time of day. There are two peaks in customer numbers, one during the late spring/early summer period and another in the build up to Christmas, as Hogsmeadow puts on particularly good Christmas displays.


Part 1 • Operations management

● Indoor sales area
The range of goods has increased dramatically over the past few years and now includes items such as: ● pets and aquatics ● seeds ● fertilisers ● indoor pots and plants ● gardening equipment ● garden lighting ● conservatory-style furniture ● outdoor clothing ● picture gallery ● books and toys ● delicatessen ● wine ● kitchen equipment ● soft furnishing ● outdoor eating equipment ● gifts, stationery, cards, aromatherapy products ● freshly cut flowers ● dried flowers.

● Outside sales area
In the open air and in large glasshouses there is a complete range of plants, shrubs and trees. Hogsmeadow quality is high, with plants looking well tended if a little more expensive than other smaller garden centres. Half a dozen bedding plants cost in the region of £2.99 compared to similar plants which could be obtained for around £2 from market stalls or other garden centres. Professionally qualified staff both tend the plants and staff the information centres located around the grounds. In addition to plants, there is also a comprehensive array of outdoor stone ornaments. There is stock valued in excess of £50 000 on show. Prices range from £25 to £3700. There are also a large number of water features, compost and peat, garden sheds, conservatories, playhouses, decking, wooden furniture, garden machinery, playground equipment, fencing, slabs, rocks and stones.

● Inventory control
It has always been difficult for the centre to decide how much of each product to order at the beginning of the season. Some non-perishable products, such as barbecues, sold in quantity at the beginning of the...
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