Cold and wet bank holiday fails to deter garden centre customers

Bulbs, catering and sale goods helped buck the retail trend at garden centres during the coldest bank holiday for years.

Will Armitage
Will Armitage

Heavy rain over the bank holiday made it a washout for retailers as shoppers opted to stay indoors rather than visit the high street. But garden centres did well, with food and bulbs to the fore.

GCA chairman Will Armitage said: "Monday was businer than usual though was very cold with us. Catering did very well. It's been the coldest August bank holiday I've ever known, which is not conducive to gardening but may have helped bulb sales because people only plant them when it's cooler."

Scotsdale owner Caroline Owen said: "Bank holiday was surprisingly good here - 24 per cent up on last year. I can only think that as the weather was so awful customers just wanted to get out. The café was very busy."

Blue Diamond managing director Alan Roper said: "We're up against budget and against last year for August. I'm hoping it will be a very good month. Bulbs have been very strong compared to last year though it's early days."

Woodcote Green general manager Phil Barnden said: "The August bank holiday is not as important as a spring one because people have different shopping habits. The coffee shop did well but the weather was not great. It was as good as a weekday in spring and in line with 2013, though Monday was a washout."

Burford Garden managing director Paul Gingell said sale goods were selling 50 per cent better than in 2013's annual summer sales and food and cafe sales had been helped by poor weather as customers looked for indoor offerings.

Up to 40mm of rain in parts of the south over the weekend and Scotland and Northern Ireland suffered sub-zero temperatures at night in some places.

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