Bad weather hits garden centre figures, reports GCA

The poorest weather in the UK for 30 years saw the gardening season start slowly in 2010.

Latest Garden Centre Association (GCA) figures show January was 4.5% down on 2009. February was 3% down, with plants hit hardest, 28% down in the month.

GCA chief executive Gillie Westwood said: "The figures are hardly surprising. People have not been able to get out into the garden."

Even catering was hit, being 3.5% down this year. Westwood said: "For a lot of garden centres, people just couldn't get to them because of the weather."

The figures come from 46 garden centres. Clothing did well, with Wellington-boot sales booming. Sales of wild-bird food helped the pets and aquatics section.

Plants have bloomed up to five weeks later than in 2009, with record levels of snow, prolonged cold and waterlogged ground dogging gardeners from getting out and planting.


                                      Year to date                         February

Outdoor plants               30% down                          28% down
Houseplants                   16% down                          11% down
Seeds & bulbs                  4% down                          2.5% up
Sundries                           8% down                          10% down
Furniture & barbecue        0%                                  7.5% up
Pets and aquatics             7.5% up                               1% up
Gifts                                   6% up                              12% up
Hard landscaping             14% down                         10% up
Food                                  8% up                              10% up
Clothing                           15% up                              24% up
Catering                           3.5% down                          2% up

Overall                             4.5% down                      3% down

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