Reader Panel - How have you fared with the Christmas tree market this year?

With a tighter economic climate and reports of supply shortages and needle necrosis, HW asked growers and retailers how the Christmas tree market is going this year.

Grower

"There is a lot of demand for big trees. Anything six foot and above is in short supply.

"Prices are quite strong overall. VAT has changed since last year so prices are up three to four per cent on last year, with added fuel and fertiliser costs meaning retail prices are up about six per cent with a six foot Nordmann at £47.

"We hope to sell 7,000 trees at retail, up five to six per cent on last year."

Andrew Ingram, owner, The Tree Barn

Representative

"Some people have been pretty frantic in looking for trees but up to now growers have been able to satisfy everybody. All we can do now is see what the public do.

"Five per cent price rises are fairly general, which is all to do with VAT and fuel costs.

"There is a lot of necrosis about at the moment in some areas and we're not sure what the cause is."

Roger Hay, secretary, British Christmas Tree Growers Association

Grower

"Prices have been the same for three years but are up five per cent this year.

"There's a shortage of bigger trees and prices are up more for them than smaller ones. We're selling six foot Nordmanns at £40 and hope to sell 1,000.

"We're also doing wreaths, including for 10 Downing Street, which has increased interest. We have offered them for three or four years and sold 150 last year, but will sell more this year at £17-£18 each."

Will Miles, owner Welford Christmas Trees

Retailer

"It's slow. From everyone I've spoken to, no-one is ahead. The biggest issue is price. A lot of people will come out with disappointing sales.

"Last year everyone was affected by snow so we're eight per cent up but Christmas trees are still slightly down.

"Artificial trees are getting better and if someone pays £150 for one they want four or five years out of it. Over the past three years real Christmas tree sales are five to 10 per cent down."

Andy Bunker, director, Alton Garden Centre


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