Managing director Tim Greenway said: "Year on year, turnover was up by 28 per cent across the whole business including the planteria, restaurant, furniture, pets, gifts, fashion, sundries and farm shop. The biggest winners were plants (up 48 per cent) and outdoor/indoor furniture (up 24 per cent)."
He added: "As ever, the weather was our biggest influencer. A cold spring delayed both consumer demand and plant availability, but when the sun started shining in May, we were flooded with plants in peak condition, as well as plenty of customers wanting to buy them. So during early summer we made hay in the planteria.
"Come July, when temperatures rose and we had some really hot days, sales dipped across the store. As everyone in retail knows, when it’s hot people are much more likely to stay at home in the cool. Whereas on a cool, drizzly, summer’s day we can be pretty sure of a busy day with high footfall and, in particular, a packed restaurant.
"In the planteria we’ve had some good success with both specimen plants and ready-made planters – purchases that customers can pick up, take home and pop into position for instant good looks. I call it 'instant gardening', but whatever you call it, it’s on the increase."
"Another successful move for us has been focussing more on lifestyle garden furniture and accessories. For example, we sold lots of stylish, low level chairs, sofas and tables in materials such as all-weather wicker. We’re finding that people want to spend time relaxing rather than working in their gardens, and that many now see the garden as an outside room – an extension of the house. he lifestyle furniture instantly gives them the informal look they want and provides the perfect spot for chillaxing alone or with friends, probably with a glass of fizz and a plate of nibbles to hand. Many customers have gone one step further this year and bought a fire pit or chimenea to help extend the summer nights."