June sales down in garden centres

Garden Centre Association member sales show a year to date increase of 3.85 per cent but June's overall monthly sales, compared to the same month last year were -1.47 per cent down.

Outdoor plant sales were down -4.70 per cent and sales of houseplants were down -1.33 per cent while clothing was up 18.01 per cent and catering was up 10.65 per cent.

Garden sundries were down -4.11 per cent and furniture and barbecue sales were at -8.13 per cent while seed and bulb sales were up slightly at 0.07 per cent. Sales in pets and aquatics departments were down -1.37 per cent.

Food hall and farm shop sales were up 4.32 per cent and gifts were up 0.31 per cent.

Retailers have suggested Brexit, Euro football and poor weather were to blame for poorer sales. July has seen slightly improved returns.

Justin Williams, managing director at Fron Goch Garden Centre in Wales, said: "June, in which many core gardening lines struggled against last year’s figures, saw the restaurant hold its monthly average increase on last year of 20 per cent. Last summer, in the restaurant, we invested in a re-fit and increased the number of covers to 200, which has delivered 20 per cent growth since September 1, 2015."

Tammy Woodhouse, managing director at Millbrook Garden Centres in Kent and East Sussex, said: "I would put our good plant sales in June largely down to our Rose Festival, which we have been running for three years. We find it a really good way to shift the focus from bedding and give customers a good reason to visit.  

"We work with the growers and they select the best looking roses in flower to send us and we create lovely displays. We hold a preview evening for our best customers, with rose specialists on hand, customers can shop with a glass of fizz and chocolate dipped strawberries and mini rose scones. Not only do we see an increase in our rose sales but it also grows our overall plant sales."

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