Mild weather slows garden centre sales

Garden centre sales have slowed this autumn, with plants suffering because of mild weather and the continuing decline of autumn planting.

Image: HW
Image: HW

While High Street retail sales are up, garden retail has struggled. Squires managing director Dennis Espley said: "September was flat with last year, all gardening categories, plants and sundries suffered about eight per cent down ... was it too warm?"

GCA figures suggest September sales were six per cent down. Espley added that furniture and barbecues were well up and cafes performed well. Scotsdales mirrored this view, as did other garden centres.

Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker said plant sales had been "riding the crest of a wave" his year with some months 20-30 per cent up, but September was seven per cent up. He said mild weather meant summer bedding had not been killed off, so autumn bedding had not kicked off.

FloraHolland found in September four per cent fewer garden plants were sold. Buxus fell by 18 per cent, gaultheria by 16.8 per cent and viola by 13 per cent.

Asters rose by 44 per cent and erica (35.9 per cent), Cyclamen (24.4 per cent) and hydrangea (9.3 per cent) were also up.

The general trees/bushes/container plants group decreased by 33.2 per cent. The Dutch auction house saw 1.8 per cent fewer cut flowers sold, with chrysanthemums down 24 per cent. Hydrangea sales rose 22 per cent.

FloraHolland houseplant sales saw a one per cent drop. Bromeliads fell 15 per cent, but cyclamen increased by 19 per cent.

Phalaenopsis fell 4.4 per cent. Lovania general manager Charmay Prout said 2015 had been "stable" but people had kept summer bedding in this September and were slow moving to autumn and winter bedding.

Blue Diamond managing director Alan Roper said he still hoped to hit profit targets of being up 35 per cent this year and profits had been up 73 per cent in the first six months, but the weather had delayed autumn planting and seen sales slow.

DIY spending: Barclaycard data reveals consistent falls

DIY spending Barclaycard data reveals consistent falls Barclaycard data found DIY spending growth fell further, after consistent quarterly falls over the past two years. It increased by just 1.0 per cent in September, its second lowest level in two and a half years. The sector has historically performed well when housing sales are low, says Barclaycard.

The British Retail Consortium said UK retail sales increased 2.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis from September 2014, when they had decreased 2.1 per cent on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 3.9 per cent, against a 0.8 per cent fall in September 2014. BDO’s monthly High Street Sales Tracker (HSST) recorded a year-on-year sales uplift of 2.8 per cent for September, the best figures for the month of September since 2012 and the highest monthly rise since April last year.

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