Bad weather leads to slow start for garden centres

Garden centres start January slowly
Garden centres start January slowly

Bad weather has led to a slow start in garden retail sales in the week to 12 January, compared to the the same week in 2013, according to figures supplied to Horticulture Week.

Overall sales were 15 per cent down.

Aquatics was 15 per cent down, Christmas was 15 per cent up, books were 20 per cent down, clothing was 30 per cent down, craft was 16 per cent down, food was 20 per cent down, furniture was two per cent down, sundries were 22 per cent down, gifts were 10 per cent down, houseplants were four per cent down, outdoor plants were 50 per cent down, pets were 30 per cent down and restaurant was 15 per cent down.

Meanwhile British Retail Consortium/KPMG figures show high street retail footfall in December was 2.4 per cent lower than a year ago, up on the 2.9 per cent fall in November and marginally above the three-month average of -2.7 per cent.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "These figures highlight how the rapid evolution of multichannel is changing the face of shopping, particularly at Christmas.  Rather than making multiple trips to the shops over the festive period, many of us planned ahead for our gift-buying and took advantage of retailers’ investment in services like click and collect so that they could cover off their festive spending at their convenience.
"The timing of Christmas was also a major factor behind peaks and troughs in shopper numbers during December – with the big day falling on a Wednesday many people held off on finalising their festive spending in the last few days.
"We saw in last week’s sales figures that the final result was respectable overall, with multichannel the ‘story of the season’.  These figures similarly highlight that continuing caution and changing spending habits were central themes of Christmas trading in 2013."

Garden centres were up 5.1 per cent in December, according to Garden Centre Assocaition figures.

Aldi, Lidl, John Lewis, Next, and House of Fraser have announced positive Christmas figures, while Tesco and Morrisons have revelaed less good figures.  Home Retail Group, the owner of Argos and Homebase, is also thought to have enjoyed a solid festive period, with sales about 2.5 per cent up, thanks to the renewed housing market.

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