Centres enjoy Easter sales boom

Optimism over four-day holiday is realised as customers flock to garden centres

The crucial Easter weekend has lived up to garden centres’ positive expectations with sales up an estimated five per cent on 2005 to £120m. Garden centres broke with the trend of the high street, which experienced a fall in sales of five per cent, according to initial evidence. Retail analyst Footfall anticipated a continuing decline in sales on the high street, while industry bodies correctly predicted garden centres would see their first Easter sales growth in three years. The HTA estimates sales were up to £120m over the four-day holiday, while retailers reported that garden leisure and coffee shop sales boomed. Trelawney Garden Leisure managing director David Danning said his sales were up by 30 per cent on last year. “It was very good. There’s a lot of making up to do, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction. “It puts confidence back in and shows that it is really about the weather and not that people have lost interest in their gardens.” Notcutts in Norwich broke its highest sales record for a single day in 25 years’ retailing on Easter Monday. Manager James Debbage said it was up by 100 per cent on Easter Monday 2005, but the fact that it was three weeks later this year had to be taken into account. “We worked hard to get the best potential sales, and we did it. I still don’t think we’ve fully got to where we want to be yet but the weather is bringing people out,” he added. Director Tony Blake of Worcester-based St Peter’s Garden Centre said it was finally “bouncing back after a long, cold winter”. Its sales were up by 15 per cent on last year.

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