Indoor garden centre sales do best in September

Garden Centre Association's Barometer of Trade results found clothing sales were up 30 per cent compared to the same month in 2014 while food hall/farm shop sales were up 14.5 per cent, but gardening sales have fallen.

Catering sales were up 8.33 per cent compared to 2014 while Christmas sales start to rise with a change of 8.5 per cent compared to last year.

Gifts were up 4.5 per cent, pets and aquatics up 5 per cent and furniture and barbecues were up 9.8 per cent. A rise of 9.5 per cent was seen in sales of houseplants.

But plant and core gardening sales have suffered and for the month of September the overall garden centre performance was up by two per cent compared to the same month last year.

GCA chief executive Iain Wylie said: "The weather during September gave gardeners great conditions for beginning their autumn planning and planting. Sales in clothing were up during the month so it would seem customers were not only preparing their gardens for the changing season, but were preparing themselves too by stocking up on wellies and waterproofs.

"It was only back in July that clothing and food hall/farm shops were on the rise and it is interesting to see this repeat for September. With the onset of autumn many food halls and farm shops changed their seasonal produce so had something new and tasty for customers to pick up and try."

Paul Gingell, managing director at Burford Garden Company in Oxfordshire said: "September on the whole saw very favourable weather conditions for the autumn gardener, with sunny days accompanied by chilly temperatures overnight. On the back of the boost to plant sales throughout the month, we have also seen excellent growth in both clothing sales and cafe and food hall sales.  

"Aside from the boost a new season always gives us, clothing sales growth has come on the back of our focus on natural fibres in our ranges, creative merchandising in collections and dedicated staffing to maximise sales opportunities. Both our café and food hall have surged ahead of last year’s sales performance, with significant growth coming from luxury grab ‘n’ go meals to eat in or take home. Our insistence on cooking from scratch every day, using only local produce and ingredients, gives us a great advantage over many chain-based competitors."

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