Sales soar as sun shines over Easter holiday

Retailers smile after fine weather brings out shoppers.

The horticulture industry has experienced a record Easter weekend thanks to the fine weather which renewed customer desire for gardening products. The three days of Easter trading produced sales up to 35 per cent ahead of 2006, when Easter fell later in the season. Operators HW spoke to reported strong turnouts and increased demand for horticultural stock and also manufactured goods, including barbecues and furniture. West Lothian-based New Hopetoun Gardens director Dougal Philip said sales beat the centre’s previous peak in 2004 thanks to good weather. “It’s such a relief that with the nice weather people get into the garden and come back to the centre.” Chester-based Grosvenor Garden Centre managing director Iain Wylie said: “Every day this holiday has shown an increase and we’ve ended up with our best ever Easter Monday. I think we’ve been lucky with good weather and we have a better range of furniture products so we’re better prepared this year. I’ve also been particularly pleased with our plant sales.” West Sussex-based Shoots co-owner Jamie Malcolm said the centre had enjoyed a record Monday beating the previous best of Easter Monday 2005 by 10 per cent, while total sales were up 35 per cent on last year. “The whole weekend was huge for us. There’s no reason to moan about anything at the moment.” Sanders GardenWorld managing director Peter Burks believes it was the centre’s best Easter weekend, even though accidents on the nearby motorway hampered access on Good Friday. “Sales were about 20 per cent up on last Easter and that would have been more if we’d had a better Good Friday.” Manchester-based All-in-One Garden Centre marketing manager Jill Somerville said: “We had a fantastic Easter. It was better than last year. Everyone seemed to be out and about.” HTA commercial director Andrew Maxted said for many garden centres the weekend rivalled Easter 2003. “We’ve seen a sustained re-interest in plants.”

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