Growers report record sales as warm weather takes hold

An extremely good April saw many growers and wholesalers break sales records in a sign that pent-up demand was being unleashed.

Companies in the amenity and retail markets saw customers flock back as the cold weather broke and people returned to the garden.

Wyevale East nursery director Richard McKenna explained: "We had our best ever month in April. We were flat out, so it was hard just to keep up. April was five per cent up on our best month before that.

"Our average invoice was a lot higher than normal, so there was definitely some work going on in the housing market as well."

Palmstead Nurseries is similarly focused on the landscape market and marketing and sales manager Nick Coslett said: "April was good, it outstripped our previous best April by about £50,000 and was more than 25 per cent up on last April. It helped compensate for a rather dreadful winter.

"Conditions were right for landscapers to get on the ground and get going. We were worried it was too dry but we have had some rain now so we are hoping to get some momentum. People were looking to catch up so there does seem to be some latent demand."

Growers also enjoyed a buoyant month. Johnsons of Whixley managing director Andrew Richardson said: "We had very good sales in April. Due to the harsh winter, the season was late starting. With the retail market we were very well through budget, which came totally from the independents. We have had a number of weeks that have been record dispatch weeks."

He added that landscape sales were up compared to last year, but down on budget, while the company's plant centre "exceeded all expectations and is back to trading levels of before the downturn".

Kernock Park Plants managing director Bruce Harnett said it had enjoyed a strong period, with like-for-like sales up on 2009. But he warned that the upcoming World Cup could affect summer sales.

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