Throwback Thursday: Requiem for Smith & Hawken
Ten years ago, an upscale outdoor-living retailer was uprooted.
The Aug. 17, 2009 issue of Home Channel News, the forerunner of HBSDealer covered the demise of Smith & Hawken under the headline: “Retailer uprooted: What went wrong with Smith & Hawken.”
The stores were universally praised as stylish emporiums for garden inspiration and gifts, but sales were down 15% to 20% in 2009, according to the brands owner at the time — Scotts Miracle-Gro. A weak economy and lack of scale pushed the 56-store chain out of business, according to Scotts.
Some analysts contacted by the magazine’s reporter said it didn’t have to end that way. Outdoor living spending was on the rise, especially among affluent markets. “Scotts is a chemical company, not a retailer who could have made the most of the brand,” said Pam Danziger, of Unity Marketing.
The brand found a home at Target with a selection of garden products, gloves and gifts, but the stores were finished by the end of the year. Scotts CFO Dave Evans essentially wrote the epitaph for the chain at an investors conference in July 2019. The original idea, he said, “was to “take the brand and extend it inot our channels where we were already doing business and had existing customer relationships.” But he added, “That proved to be more challenging and became even more challenging in the economic environment we are in today.”
HBSDealer’s Throwback Thursday is sponsored by Schaffer Associates, a national management consulting firm specializing in executive search and organizational strategies for the hardware, home improvement, building materials, and consumer products industries. As the premier management consulting firm serving the industry, we help build organizations and leadership teams that foster corporate growth and success well into the future. Contact SchafferAssociates.com.
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