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Successful Selling Season Leads To Positive Sentiment In Lawn & Garden Industry, Says GE Capital Survey

Lawn and garden industry participants are inclined to stock up on new low-cost models based on a positive summer selling season, according to survey results released today by GE Capital, Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF).

Fifty-four percent of industry participants said the popularity of lower-cost models will have the largest impact on sales this year, compared to 43 percent last year. One quarter said reduced levels of inventory will impact sales, down one percentage point from last year. Only seven percent pointed to long production lead times impacting sales, down from 20 percent.

“Pent-up demand for machines may have driven both consumer and commercial sales this year,” said Michael Horak, commercial leader of CDF’s outdoor products group. “Dealers have told us they feel good about the recent selling season and, based on current conditions, they’re planning to order more new equipment for next year.”

In fact, nearly half (49 percent) of respondents said this is a good time to consider re-stocking, up from 40 percent last year. About one-third (34 percent) had mixed feelings, down from 40 percent.

Respondents were generally optimistic about sales trends next year, as well. Thirty-eight percent said their sales would grow 5-10 percent; 23 percent said 10-15 percent; and 23 percent said 15 percent or more.

“From the inventory financing point of view, we’ve seen strong liquidations and outstandings have been reduced to levels equivalent to this time last year,” Horak added. “At the same time, inventory turns have increased to a very healthy level.”

The lawn and garden industry survey was conducted Oct. 23–25. The 164 respondents were composed of retailers and dealers (27 percent); manufacturers (23 percent); distributors (15 percent); and other industry participants (35 percent).

For more than 20 years, CDF has played an important role in the green industry. Inventory financing, also known as floorplan financing, enables dealers to stock, market and sell lawn care products. Manufacturers generally benefit from enhanced product flow and increased sales opportunities, while dealers can obtain improved credit availability and terms.

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