Catering and food sales up as wet weather hits gardening sales

January catering and clothes sales were up at garden centres, but outdoor categories were well down last month.

The Garden Centre Association’s (GCA) Barometer of Trade (BoT) report saw catering sales at 16.48 per cent up with Food Hall/Farm Shop sales at 16.04 per cent up. Clothing was also a good seller at 16.09 per cent up.

Houseplants were up 11.09 per cent but outdoor plant sales were down 9.19 per cent, seeds and bulbs were down 18.99 per cent and garden sundries were down 2.68 per cent.

Furniture and barbecue sales were up 8.14 per cent, gift sales were up 4.55 per cent and Christmas sales were up 9.75 cent.

Sales in pets and aquatics departments were down 2.87 per cent and hard landscaping sales were down 5.5 per cent.

For the month of January the overall garden centre performance and Year to Date change was 5.79 per cent.

Haskins chief executive and GCA chairman Julian Winfield said: "Not that many years ago garden centres were quiet after Christmas, but now thanks to our restaurants our customers keep coming in even when the weather is not good. This helps keep our customers interested in what we have to offer.

"All the non-gardening departments have done reasonably well, some discounted old ranges but also in new product such as garden furniture. Those garden centres that quickly cleared up Christmas in early January look ready for spring sales."

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