Organisers of garden retail products industry show Glee took the decision, after extensive consultation, to make this year’s event a weekday-only format, reasoning that Sunday was no longer an essential requirement for visitors.

They said the result of adding another weekday in its place this year was busy aisles, full-to-capacity exhibiting space and a positive, business-building atmosphere at the NEC Birmingham on September 14 -16.

This year’s show, they say, successfully built on the show’s 2014 reinvention, with easily-accessed new halls, a bright, ‘Green Heart’ atrium space for growers and strong, business-focused visitor features.

The initial stats show several thousand British and international garden retailers, online buyers, DIY stores, landscapers and builders’ merchants visited Glee.

The overall number of retailers attending increased, including more key decision makers, buyers, managing directors and business owners than in previous years. UK garden centre penetration was high with 98% of Garden Centre Association (GCA) members visiting the show.

The 500 exhibitors included 190 new Glee exhibitors.

"From the comments we have received from both buyers and suppliers, this has been the most vibrant and exciting Glee of recent years," said Matthew Mein, i2i Events Glee event director.

"It was clear that plenty of business was being done, new opportunities were being forged, and people were seizing the chance to network and build their professional knowledge. We have already taken a significant number of re-bookings from suppliers keen to secure their places for next year."

Timber garden products

On the timber garden products front, exhibitors included Grange Fencing, Byko- Lat, Jagram, Cuprinol, Deck Supermarket Ltd, Deko-pak, M&M Timber/Forest Garden, Norlogs, Rowlinson Garden Products and Albany Sheds.

Grange unveiled its new corporate identity with the aim of reaching a wider audience and establishing itself as one of the leading supplier of decorative garden products.

A new, contemporary identity was created with a more modern font, cleaner colours and a strapline, "Defining Gardens".

Research which Grange conducted on the new identity also resulted in new product ranges being developed including ‘Contemporary’, ‘Urban’ and ‘Valencia’.

"Through our research we discovered that many homeowners are choosing to develop their existing homes rather than moving – and this means developing their outside space as well as their indoor rooms," said Neil Taylor, managing director of Grange. So Grange is looking at co-ordinated fence, trellis and gate products to create ‘zoned areas’ within a garden.

Added value decorative products include the Valencia Corner Arbour and Grange Flower Walk as well as the company’s extensive range of pre-painted garden structures, which extends to 100 products, such as arbours, pergolas and arches, as well as painted options for decorative fence panels, trellis and planters.

Since the beginning of the 2015 season, Grange has added more than 120 new merchant accounts.

Forest Garden and M&M Timber’s joint stand at Glee 2015 demonstrated the ‘Take Me to the Till’ merchandising system.

"The new furniture range was a big hit at Glee, but the stand-out product for visitors to the stand was the contemporary range of sleeper tables, benches and stools, with the decorative and sturdy metal trim offering a unique point of difference," said Forest Garden’s marketing manager Andrew Bendall.

He said its core products such as the Tall Wall Greenhouse continue to be a strong seller for the company, while sales of the Pinnacle Log store, have sold well over the summer months and is now increasing week on week going into autumn.

Meanwhile, WJ Group showed visitors the improved format of DeckWright Inserts, which are now available in easy to fit one metre straight lengths, packed into 25-metre retail kits for both new and retrofit decking.

Rowlinson Garden Products has 15 new products in 2015, including a Mini / Greenhouse and Coldframe, both constructed from FSC-certified hardwood with twin walled polycarbonate glazing.

Its Sheds and Storage range continues to grow with the 4×3 Oxford Shed With Lean to and an Overlap Wallstore. Its garden furniture range now features a four-seater Coffee Set and a Companion Seat, both in the Willington style.