Was the prospect of an early Easter important to you?

Before the holiday weekend started, HW polled retail specialists on their views.

NO - "Everyone gets ready for Easter because it seems to be the start of the season but I think it's going to be a delayed one this year.

"A lot of it is dependent on the weather because if you get a nice couple of days then people are itching to get outside.

"There have been changes to the school holidays this year so people are planning to go away at different times. That's when they tend to do their garden because it seems like Easter to them. I think that will work in our favour this year."

Sheila Bickford, co-owner, The Plantation

NO - "It doesn't seem that important because we're closed on Easter Sunday anyway. Easter doesn't matter so much because it largely depends what the weather is like. Last year, March and April were cracking so Easter was good for us.

"This year the early Easter means that the school holidays are all over the place so how that's going to affect things I don't know. Many people who are off because it's so early might even take a skiing holiday."

Andy McIndoe, garden centre director, Hillier

NO - "We set our Easter targets very low because we didn't think it was going to be a great Easter because it is too early.

"It normally gives us a deadline to work to but we're pessimistic about this year. If we'd had a good March then everyone would be in the mood and it could have been really good.

"A lot of schools have changed their holidays, and Easter holidays aren't until the second week of April so that might be a bit of a trigger. If the weather picks up then that might work better for us."

Tammy Woodhouse, retail operations director, Millbrook Garden Centre

NO - "Easter coming early helps if the weather is not too cold and wet. If the weather is bad then the opportunity for sales passes.

"Easter 2009 is two weeks later so it will come at a better time for the garden industry to sell.

"However, the garden industry looks positive after a very good January and February.

"It all looks pretty healthy, mainly because the weather in February was so encouraging."

Peter Seabrook, gardening writer and broadcaster.


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