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Know what to sell in 2014

The sales numbers are in and they can help you prepare for 2014! 

Bar code tracking of actual garden center retail sales can help you minimize your risk and maximize sales next year. The hard selling numbers from this program, which we outlined in our June issue of Proven Profits are now in, and they offer a new world of information for growers.

Sales data show Candyland remains a very popular combination of three Superbells® varieties. This year, it moved up to 2nd place.


Bar Code Tracking at Four Star

Here's how the program works. For two years, five retail garden centers have used our bar codes to track all plant sales in Grande™ containers. For 2013, the program was expanded to include all plant varieties and containers, plus combinations. Each was a separate stock-keeping unit (SKU), so we can track sales of specific varieties across different container categories, as well as the popularity of various container sizes. This information also gives us good guidance on consumers' preference for specific combinations.

As Amber Coch, Garden Ready Coordinator, noted: "This information is very exciting, because it shows what consumers actually bought."

Get the Right Mix at Retail

Velvet Skies, the 2013 Proven Winners® National Combination, sold well at retail, according to the data.  This popular combo had good store presence and the marketing campaign of Proven Winners in its introductory year.

"Our goal is to help retailers have the right product mix on the bench to help their customers be successful," said Tom Smith, President. "No other company does anything like this."

"This doesn't have to be a guessing game," he continued. "Sales at retail happen so quickly. A retailer can sell out in one day or in two weeks, and realize 'I could have sold more if I knew.' This information can help them plan ahead to be prepared."

New Data from 2013 Season

The new data supports several trends that showed up in the 2012 season — such as the growing popularity of yellow Superbells® (Yellow Chiffon, Saffron, Yellow and Lemon Slice are among the Top 30 Grande™ sellers).

Another trend the data report shows is the growing popularity of shade varieties and shade-specific combinations. "This kind of R&D is helping us focus our production for next year," said Coch.

The report also shows the popularity of Velvet Skies the popular Proven Winners® National Combination for 2013. "The sales data reinforces the success of Proven Winners' marketing and the investment made to create top-selling baskets," she said.

The sales information also showed the popularity of some surprising varieties in the 1 GL Royale™ container. "Our gallon top sellers are a diverse mix, including Graceful Grasses®, Superbells, Supertunias® and the A-Peel® Thunbergias. This is a noticeably different collection than our Grande top sellers, and there is clearly a need for both container sizes and product mixes at retail," Coch pointed out. "This kind of data will help Four Star plan our production going into 2014."


Top 10 Grande™
Varieties in 2013

Top 10 Hanging Basket Combinations in 2013

1. Diamond Frost® Euphorbia
2. Royal Velvet Supertunia®
3. Snowstorm® Giant Snowflake® Sutera
4. Snow Princess® Lobularia
5. 'Sweetheart Light Green' Ipomoea
6. Bordeaux Supertunia®
7. Superbells® Lemon Slice
8. Vista Bubblegum Supertunia®
9. Superbells® Blue
10. 'Sweet Caroline Light Green' Ipomoea.

1. Bahama Beach
2. Candyland
3. Bermuda Skies
4. Velvet Skies
5. Party Time
6. Velvet Crush
7. Shade of Gold
8. Starry Night
9. Grandiose
10. Star Spangled Banner


Plan Ahead for 2014 Crops

The information shown here is just a sneak peak of the type of information now available from our bar code tracking program. Amber Coch notes that the Four Star sales staff is excited to share more of this data with its grower customers in time for 2014 planning.

"We have this information to help growers plan specific combinations, too," Coch said. "Now we have statistics that can help people confidently narrow down their selections to get great sellers. Instead of having 50 different combinations, they might focus on 35 strong selling ones." The top 10 combinations from 2013 are shown here.

For more information on the bar code tracking results, contact Amber Coch at 734-654-6420 or


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