Garden centre hails best first 4-month sales period for 6 years

After the May day bank holiday, garden centre directors said they have to go back to 2011 to see a better set of figures for both April and year-to-date.

Essex-based Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker said: "It's been a good, dare I say it again, plant bank holiday. When I say plant, I mean still very much shrubs, perennials, roses and trees."

"One point of note is a huge amount of acers sold from £20 through to £150, which is good because as mentioned previously, [this means] much higher spend per transaction."

Bunker added: "Bedding I feel is yet to come and once the worry of frost and very cold nights disappears (which did show certainly in the south this week) then I can see the floodgates opening."

"As far as overall garden centre turnover is concerned, May bank holiday weekend was very much like-for-like against 2016, although this day last year was huge, which was we feel down to pent-up demand after a poor April last year.

"We are still maintaining approximately 40% year on year increase in the plantarea -  and you have to go back to 2011 to see a better set of figures for both April and year to date."

For April he said his plantarea was up 47% on month and year-to-date is now plus 41%.

but now the challenge begins , realistically I feel you need to add April and may together which is then a far more relevant comparison year on year .

Ansell Garden Centre owner Paresh Raithatha said: "We had a very strong May bank holiday Saturday and exceptional Sunday. Rain dampened things on Monday but the customers that were out were filling trolleys."

Buckingham Garden Centre's Chris Day said: "An average Bank Holiday with plants and garden sundries performing well. Not many high ticket items apart from BBQ fuel doing well. Strong restaurant performance despite the iffy weather on Saturday. Strongest sellers in the plant department Bedding, Herbaceous under 2 litre and vegetables and herbs."
Timmermans Garden Centre's Greg Timmerman-Delves said the centre was 22% up in April.
Squire's Sarah Squire said spring had brought "glorious gardening weather" but a cold snap at the end of April meant it was wise to protect tender plants. She said May 10 is the "magic date" where the last danger of frost should be over in Squire's catchment area.
Waitrose finance director Loraine Woodhouse said on 23-29 April results: "?A week of mixed weather didn't dampen shoppers' enthusiasm for al fresco dining as sales of barbecue meats increased by 56% and salads rose by 8%. 

"Customers were celebrating the long weekend, as sales of beer and spirits increased by 10% and 14% respectively. Sales of croissants and other pastries, ideal for a lazy brunch, saw an uplift in sales of 8.6%."

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Neville Stein

Business advice from Neville Stein, MD of business consultancy Ovation

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