Relax or get moving depending on where you are in the chain.
I polled some importers and below is what they had to say. I am hoping to get some wholesaler reaction to report on as we count down the hours.
*Prebooks and Open Market orders were going out in such large volume that most trucking companies couldn’t handle the volume.
We worked very hard over the weekend, and make some significant improvement in our inventory. Most of our sales staff, even accounting staff were in the cooler, putting labels, scanning boxes and making sure boxes go out.
So, the typical flower holiday pattern remains same. It is all about 3-5 days of main shipping period, unlike it used to be stretched out longer over 10-14 days. If you have what the market demands during those 3-5 days, and your operations can handle the logistics, then, you can make some good money. If you speculated and paid big money for the flowers and the airlines are 3 days behind and you miss that shipping window, then you are left with money out of your pockets.
Also, as I firmly expected, Premium Ecuadorian roses held it’s value, even if we had to upcharge them by 0.06-0.10 due to the import duty and high import freight. Customers will pay the money to get those high-end varieties, rather than settle for less desirable Colombian colors. I also believe this was the first main flower holiday where all airlines charged the importers based on dimensional weight, and for those who import mega size Russian boxes now realize they don’t necessarily have to pack 400 stem in a box.
*Today is difficult, most customers are still just getting their flowers. Now is the time we should be re-loading them and due to delays out of Colombia many of them are just getting their flowers for the first time. It is hard to sell flowers to someone that cannot fit another box in the cooler.
*Today is a fill in day for our customers. They have sent out the bulk of their orders and hopefully looking to generate new orders whereas they will need to purchase additional product. Prices have dropped because at this point everyone wants to rid themselves of holiday product/price. I am happy to report we have been extremely efficient this holiday with zero shipping problems. It has been active here this morning which is always a good sign.
*Very sloppy market
*NO SHIPPING NIGHTMARE NO QUALITY ISSUES
*Over all this has been an “up” holiday.
Concerns over weather and snow are up
Problems with lift out of Colombia are up
Stress levels for customers has been up
Sales are up
Prebooks were up
The number of customers we had to sell to get to our goal is up
The morale of our people has been up
The market is on fire and buyers are buying. The challenge now is to get all of the flowers out of here (Miami) in a matter of hours. I have witnessed owners, not accustomed to working in the coolers, pulling orders and operating pallet jacks. The weather forecast is looking better around the US giving buyers the green light and that has opened the flood gates. Prices are still strong.
As I have predicted there are some bad flowers in the system and this is a great time to save your best potential customer. Having some fresh products to bail out a customer that just received bad product is a great way to make a new friend.
I have seen many bleary eyed logistics employees of all types stumbling around the docks and the clock to move all of the flowers out of here. Flowers and trucks are heading up the highway and there is plenty of optimism to offset the fears of a snow snuffed holiday. Prices are strong and holding so far from what I can learn. The flowers have to move so there will many deals being made as you read this. Otherwise what I posted below yesterday, still applies. However, it is very hard to conceptualize the weather conditions that persist in much of the flower loving US when it’s 81 degrees here in Miami. Good luck
Talking with Growers, Importers and Wholesalers around the US I think it is safe to say that people are worried about the weather, this time named Nika. And since when did they start naming snow storms?
I recall it was just two or three years ago when lots of snow fell on the NE and wholesalers were resorting making deliveries in their personal four wheel drive vehicles.
The California crop is ready due to sunny weather over the last few weeks. Miami is still digging out of a backlog as a result of slow sales.
Red Roses appear to be holding prices as are other hot items but there is likely more product in the system than demand. This will change day by day as product begins to move up the chain.
This holiday sheds more and more light on the declining state of the retail florist. The wire services and direct shippers are taking a huge chunk of the business at discounted prices. The days of big margins are gone (unless of course you had lots of red flowers in December.)
I again recommend that everyone watch their incoming product for quality issues as some of the flowers have been in storage or transit for too long. Top quality companies will painfully dump dated high dollar products locally to ensure that their customers get the best.
This will be what some like to call, a late holiday. Since so many buyers have yet to commit they will be forced to play the open market game all through next week. However, the logistics get very complex with cold weather looming and potential airport closing.