Sales boost attributed to good gardening weather

Despite obvious anxiety over the imminent introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW), many garden centres are continuing to experience good sales this year. Charlton Park Garden Centre owner Phil Stevenson said his sales so far are five per cent better than 2014.

Image: HW
Image: HW

He attributed the boost to good gardening weather, as did Andy Bunker of Alton Garden Centre in Essex, who said: "August was up by 26 per cent and up 14 per cent year-on-year. We were up again by seven per cent in September, which was 13 per cent up on last year."

Alton pointed out that "being prepared, reviewing stock levels three or four times a week, not just on a Monday" has also helped. "If you go back 15 years with traditional garden centres, 80 per cent of the business was done at weekends, provided that you stocked up by Friday. But now that figure has reduced down to below 60 per cent of overall business being at the weekends. So you do need that stock in, Monday to Friday. If you get it right, that's a couple of thousand pounds on the sales."

Bunker highlighted the importance of providing a good shopping experience for customers, something that Stevenson pointed out could be affected with the introduction of the NLW. "If you have got someone physically on the shop floor who knows where roses are they will walk up to the roses and show customers where they are, helping to make sales. We have two people like that and they have accounted for 10 per cent of the overall figures."

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