Floralie's Garden takes the floor

Samuel Bouvier, director of Floralie’s Garden
“We are keeping our sales up”

Samuel Bouvier manages a fine business. Founded in 1973, Floralie’s Garden today boasts nearly 70 employees, and is the biggest independent garden centre in France.

"Behind Floralie's Garden lies a family of market gardeners. In 1919, Alphonsine and Auguste Frénet bought a plot of land in Bétheny, on the outskirts of Reims. It was their children and grandchildren who turned to horticulture, founding Floralie's Garden in 1973. The 100 sqm premises have since grown considerably: the garden centre now spans 10,000 sqm. I joined in 1996 as head of the pet section, and I've been running the garden centre since 2012.
For Floralie's Garden, the year was not all that bad. We did about the same turnover as in 2022, thanks in part to price increases. There's still one downside: the drop in footfall in the shop, which is at least in part due to petrol prices. Even so, we have kept some of the customers who started shopping with us during the Covid crisis. Nonetheless, our garden centre still has one specificity: our big seller is the plant department. And sales of plants increased by 10-20%. Another market trend is the popularity of green and indoor plants. We saw a 25% increase last year and a further 5% this year. The situation varies from one sector to another: the pet section is suffering from the increase in the number and specialisation of chains, while the outdoor section has suffered from the weather. But we mustn't forget that this is still a leisure business. We're in the business of buying for pleasure, on a whim. Flowers are the last item on the household budget.
We're going to struggle to keep up our sales in 2024, but we should be able to maintain our margins. The prices of imported products in the pet and outdoor sectors are falling, mainly because of the reduction in the cost of containers and transport. Suppliers are therefore lowering their prices. Above all, we're banking on growth in the plant sector. Our plan is to create a giant display area for large plants (les jardins de Floralie), combined with landscaped displays to inspire our clients. And we intend to make the most of our assets as an independent store by creating events such as our Christmas market, covering over 1,500 sqm, and our cat exhibition, by being responsive and putting new products on sale, and by taking full advantage of our freedom to choose product ranges".

By David Fouillé