The HTA Garden Retail Monitor lets garden centres compare their sales performance with regional and national averages. When trade is down it helps you see if there are any issues, or whether most garden centres are all in the same boat. You can also see strengths and weaknesses in your business, and use the data in business plans or in discussions with banks.
How it works
If you're a UK garden centre with an epos system, you can use the GRM. You need to give us information about the department structure in your epos system and fill out a registration form with details of who you want to be able to see the reports. We then sort out data transfer with your epos provider, and data is automatically submitted into the system every week. Once that's done, you'll be able to log into your online GRM report and run benchmarking reports to your heart's content. No having to type data in, no hassle, it's that simple!
The reports start very simply. below we can see our garden centre's sales are 9% down for week 34 compared with the same week last year . But we see that so were most garden centres in the region - rain! With a couple of key strokes you can tell if a sales dip is just weather or something to worry about.
Looking into things in a bit more detail, we can compare gross profit margins in the store with national averages. For August 2016 our garden centre improved its gross profit margin in live plants, bulbs and seed from 54.9% in August 2015 to 58.2% in August 2016. That compares favourably with garden centres nationally where margins in the category were flat. We could also look at that in terms of real pounds rather than percentages too. On the other hand margins have fallen on outdoor living ranges, but this looks to be consistent with the market generally suggesting market forces may be the cause.
To sign up just fill out this registration form. We will then send you a proforma to fill out detailing the department structure in your epos system. When you send us that, we do all the work setting you up with logins and arranging for data transfer between your garden centre and the GRM.
Q. Is my data secure, and can other people see my store's data?
A. Your data is encrypted and held on a secure server and cannot be accessed by other garden centres. You are the only person that can see your store(s) specific figures. The terms and conditions of use also strictly govern what HTA can and can't use your data for - basically for analysis purposes only, and then only at an aggregate level.
Q. Do I have to pay to use the system?
A. No. If you're a garden centre and you are willing to put your data in, you can get access to the benchmark reports.
Q. I want to benchmark my business using the GCA barometer of trade categories. Can I?
A. Yes. We've designed the system so that you can compare your business with others using a wide range of 'department structures'. You will also be able to benchmark using your own epos department hierarchy, so there won't be any of that worry about whether you're comparing apples with apples.
Q. I don't have an epos system - does that mean I can't take part?
A. Sadly it does. But we do have a separate system you can use where you manually type in your sales figures every month. If you want to use that, please let us know and we'll get you signed up
Q. What benchmark measures are provided?
A. You can look at total store and department performance to quite a detailed level. You can also see how sales trends over time compare with other garden centres, as well as looking at metrics such as transaction numbers, average transaction values and gross margin performance.
Q. Will my epos system work with the GRM?
A. Your epos provider needs to do a small amount of work in order to allow data to be transferred from its epos systems to the GRM. HTA is willing to share the necessary specifications to enable data transfer to any epos provider, so if your provider isn't on the list please let them and us know you want to sign up. The following epos systems have made their systems compatible or are working to do so:
- Corby & Fellas
- Swan Retail
- Open Retail Solutions