Garden centres beat drought to up sales in July

A lack of proper rain for a month in some areas has not dampened plant sales, with many garden centres 10 per cent up in July and showing similar growth in August.

New GCA figures show many garden centres were in double digit growth for July.

Coolings managing director Gary Carvosso said: "August has been very good on the plant side. Things have been very dry and in the South Thames, everyone is in the same boat. 

"Our August plant sales were up two per cent, and considering the dry weather we're pleased with that. In the end, the sun drives footfall and people pick things up. There's no sign of a hosepipe ban."

He said summer bedding was still looking good in the garden, so autumn bedding sales could be slow to start.

Carvosso added that garden maintenance turnover was up 30 per cent after adding a fourth maintenance team, while cafe sales are up seven per cent and shop sales are up 17 per cent.

A 20 per cent off bulbs launch weekend saw bulb sales rise 40 per cent.

Carvosso said the outlook was "shaky" ahead of the summer because of Brexit on 23 June, but even Dutch suppliers are now reporting growth: "People have factored in the exchange rate."

Met Office figures show the UK's mean temperature for this summer has been 14.9°C which is around half a degree warmer than average based on data from 1981 to 2010. All four of the home nations have been above average temperature wise, however they also all experienced above average rainfall. The UK has already recorded 269.1mm which is 12 per cent above average. But while rainfall has been generally near or rather below normal, East Anglia and the southeast were driest, with some parts seeing less than 50 per cent of their average. A few areas have had more than average, notably in northern England and the western isles of Scotland. West was not best for the sunshine with duller conditions here but across the UK as a whole sunshine hours were up around five per cent on the average in August.

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