The year is seven per cent up and for December the figure is 10.5 per cent up.
In 2015, clothing (16 per cent) and catering (10 per cent), food hall and farm shop sales (14 per cent) and furniture and barbecues (10 per cent) saw sales increase more than traditional categories such as outdoor plants (7.8 per cent) and houseplants (6.8 per cent). Seeds and bulbs were down 0.42 per cent.
Pets and aquatics sales were 3.48 per cent up compared to 2014 while Christmas sales were up 8.72 per cent and gifts up four per cent. Hard landscaping was up 3.94 per cent. Overall average sales were about and estimated seven per cent up.
GCA chief executive Iain Wylie said: "Clothing saw the biggest increase in sales in the year
with sales 15.81 per cent up compared to 2014. It proves beyond doubt that garden centres are increasingly becoming destinations where people can pick up everything they need all in one go.
"They’re also great places for families to visit and the improvement of restaurants and cafés has led
to an increase in catering sales of 9.93 per cent. With all the products they need, garden centres have
become somewhere a family can visit and make a day out of. They can also stop for breakfast, lunch
"While it is great to see less traditional categories doing well, it is the more traditional
categories that are of the greatest value to garden centres and it is encouraging to see that these, more
mature, core categories are increasing too.
"Overall it was a fantastic year for garden centres and we’d like to congratulate of our members for
their continuous hard work and dedication, here’s to a brilliant 2016."
December 2015 sales saw a 20.33 per cent increase in seed and bulb sales in December compared to the same month in 2014.
Sales in outdoor plants were also up at 20.27 per cent and houseplants were 6.59 per cent up.
Christmas sales were up 10.97 per cent and gifts were up 7.7 per cent.
Catering was also a good performing category at 17.41 per cent up with food hall and farm shop sales at 20.96 per cent up.
Sales in clothing were up 12.21 per cent, hard landscaping sales were up 7.08 per cent and pets and aquatics was down -2.27 per cent. Furniture and barbecues were down -0.04 per cemt.
Simon Bourne, Garden Centre Manager at Perrywood Garden Centre in Tiptree, Essex, said: "December 2015 was a fantastic month and followed the trend of previous months in being record breaking. We had our second busiest trading day of the year on Saturday, December 5, which was our best ever Saturday.
"Overall sales in the garden centre were up 15 per cent compared to December 2014 and it was our busiest December by a long way. Outdoor plants were up 10 per cent and indoor plants were up 46 per cent. Christmas products were a huge success and were 23 per cent up for the period September to December compared to the previous year. The coffee shop also had a really positive month and finished 22 per cent up compared to the same period last year."
Ben Thompson, Director at Garsons Garden Centre, which has centres in Surrey and Titchfield, said: "Following our site redevelopment at Garsons Esher, which included a new restaurant, catering traded 86 per cent up during the month of December.
"Catering at Garsons Titchfield showed growth of 14 per cent year-on-year for the month of December. Christmas sales performed well at both stores likewise, along with giftware."