Nurseries, Garden Centers & Farm Supply

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 9,200 nurseries, garden centers, and farm supply stores in the US sell lawn and garden products and farm supplies. Major product categories include grain and animal feed; fertilizer, lime, chemicals, and other soil treatments; outdoor nursery stock; pet supplies; and hardware, tools, and plumbing and electrical supplies. Companies may also sell fuel (oil, LP gas, wood, charcoal), automotive products and supplies, lawn and garden tools, and indoor plants. Services include equipment rental and repair and consulting services (landscape design, agronomy). Companies may offer delivery services for large orders (fertilizer, sod, dirt).

Competition from Alternative Sources

Nurseries, garden centers, and farm supply stores compete with a variety of alternative retailers, including home improvement and hardware stores and general merchandise retailers.

Highly Seasonal Sales

Sales for farm supply retailers are highly seasonal, with peaks during the spring and fall to support crop schedules.

Industry size & Structure

The average nursery, garden center, or farm supply retailer operates out of a single location, employs 14 workers, and generates $3-4 million annually.

    • The nursery, garden center, and farm supply retailing industry consists of about 9,200 companies operating 13,100 stores that employ about 130,000 workers and generate about $35 billion annually.
    • The industry is highly fragmented; the top 50 firms account for about 41% of industry sales.
    • Tractor Supply is the largest farm supply retailer in the US with over 1,940 stores. Large nursery and garden centers, such as Armstrong Garden Centers and Stein Garden Centers, have multiple locations but typically operate in one or two states. Most companies are small, independent operations.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Nurseries, Garden Centers & Farm Supply Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Mar 19, 2024 - Employment, Producer Prices Flat
                                  • According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment by nursery, garden center, and farm supply retailers was primarily flat in December 2023 compared to a year ago following several years of growth. The industry has seen nearly 20% employment growth since the pandemic, when many consumers picked up gardening as a hobby. Although producer prices remained mostly unchanged in December 2023 compared to the previous year, they have increased by nearly a third since 2019, per the BLS. The higher producer prices were fueled by supply chain issues, labor shortages, and the effects of global conflicts.
                                  • Consumer confidence levels fell in February 2024 after increasing for three consecutive months, according to data from The Conference Board. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index fell to 106.7 in February 2024 from 110.9 in January 2024. According to Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board, “The decline in consumer confidence in February interrupted a three-month rise, reflecting persistent uncertainty about the US economy. The drop in confidence was broad-based, affecting all income groups except households earning less than $15,000 and those earning more than $125,000.” Peterson added that the decline in consumer confidence was largest in householders over 55 and those under 35. Plans to purchase homes, autos, and large appliances decreased slightly on a six-month basis.
                                  • According to Garden Center, the Axiom Marketing 2024 Gardening Outlook Survey shows that Generations Y and Z plan to spend more time and money than older generations. When asked how much time they will spend gardening in 2024 compared to 2023, 56% and 54% of Gen Y and Z, respectively, say they will spend more than Gen X (39%). The result of the question about gardening spend was similar, with 36% of Gen Xers saying they will spend more in 2024 compared to 43% of Gen Y and 56% of Gen Z. The age range of the Gen Y/Millennial is around 26 to 42 while the range of Gen Z is 11 to 26 years old.
                                  • Nursery, garden center, and farm supply stores will have to monitor minimum wage changes, as 22 states increased their minimum wages in January 2024, according to USA Today. About half of the increases are automatic adjustments linked to inflation. States that raised their minimum wages in January 2024 include Hawaii ($14), Maryland ($15), Nebraska ($12), and Washington ($16.28). Several states are set to boost their minimum wage levels later this year, including Florida (up to $13 in September) and Nevada (up to $12 in July). According to the Economic Policy Institute, nearly 40 US cities and counties will increase their minimum wage rates above state levels at the start of the new year. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and more than 20 states, primarily located in the South and the Midwest, use the federal minimum as their wage floor.
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