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viernes, 6 de mayo de 2016

Perth Florists face end of the bloom

Florists face end of the bloom
Florist Vicki Higgins is concerned about the future of the industry. Picture: Simon Santi
But the days of seeing a florist in a stroll along the high street could be numbered.
Perth florists paint a bleak picture of the industry, with more than a dozen believed to have closed in the past few years.
The increase of cheaper imports and backyard businesses touting their wares on social media are being blamed for many of the closures as the handful still operating struggle to compete with supermarkets.
Florist Vicki Higgins, who owns Innaloo Florist and Flowers on Scarborough, has been in the industry for 20 years. She said about 16 florists had shut up shop or scaled back their operations recently.
“When we first started out it was great. There was a florist on every corner,” she said.
“There was a great community and we all knew each other. But the local florist is dying.
“Our industry has taken a huge battering in the past few years because we just have too much competition coming from everywhere.”
Floral Fuzion owner Serena Ellison’s shopfront was one of the casualties.
Ms Ellison closed her Applecross store after struggling to keep up with increasing rent and competition from supermarkets and online stores.
She now works from home, but said some imports were undercutting her by up to 50 per cent on weddings.


Perth florist Vicki Higgins.


“I’ve been undercut for a bouquet that I’m charging $250 for and they’re charging $125 for,” she said.
“I can’t compete with that. These days I can walk into the supermarket and buy flowers for cheaper than I can buy from the wholesaler — it’s crazy.”
In a bid to encourage customers to buy directly from local florists, Perth entrepreneurs Abby Page and Leah Pooley are soon to launch a new online marketplace, Flowerfox.
Ms Page said they started the business, which aims to help bricks and mortar florists sell their flowers online, after noticing many florists were closing down.
The website will connect customers directly to florists in the area they want to send the flowers.
“The whole industry is struggling and this is a way for the consumer to know where their flowers are coming from, too,” Ms Page said.
Growers also talk of their struggle to keep up with being undercut by imported cut flowers, which are offered to stores for a fraction of the cost.
One Perth grower, who asked not to be named, told how flowers from Ecuador and Kenya were being produced with lower wages and the local industry was missing out.
WA Small Business Commissioner David Eaton said florists were among a host of bricks and mortar shops that needed to constantly adapt to try to entice customers.
An IBISWorld report found only half of the flowers sold in Australia were sold in florists.
“There’s some that may exit but every time this happens there’s always someone who manages to thrive,” Mr Eaton said.
“But there are some things that you can’t get online and that comes down to the service.
“High streets deliver something a bit different.”
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