Christmas tree wholesale prices could rise by 30%

Christmas tree prices could rise by 30 per cent this year, according to growers at last week's Woking Nursery Exhibition.

Shortages in Denmark, the weakness of the pound and higher fuel prices mean wholesale prices for Christmas trees in the UK are likely to rise by 15-30 per cent.

The Emerald Group is reporting EUR3 (£2.40) price increases for 2m Nordmann Firs imported from Denmark.

Tanith Clements of Jadecliffe said: "The problem is that the pound is very weak against the euro and the Danish krone, and prices will increase anywhere between 20 and 30 per cent this year."

She added: "Retailers have had a good time. They have previously doubled the price. But we don't want to push the consumer too far. The retailers might want to consider having a smaller profit."

Jadecliffe and Emerald are holding back on setting wholesale prices, while HA Trim is offering six-foot (1.8m) trees at £21.25.

Hans Alexandersen, owner of Surrey-based HA Trim, said: "It's the first time ever that Emerald and Jadecliffe have not come out with prices at this time. We set our prices yesterday and are reasonably comfortable with them."

He added: "Garden centres are not going to let Sadie Lynes (at Jadecliffe) dictate what they are going to do. But Jadecliffe supplies Notcutts and others, so it probably has more idea than us. We're just small fry."

HA Trim plans to increase its production so it does not need to import. Alexandersen said: "We have 600,000 trees in the ground and we will target local garden centres and nurseries."

In recent years, Denmark has lost subsidies, and production Europe-wide is up to three million short of demand. Retailers raised prices by up to £10 per tree last Christmas.

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