Christmas garden centre sales beat 2011

Initial reports of Christmas seasonal sales from garden centres are positive - although cold weather products are down on 2011.

Barton Grange's award-winning Christmas display - image: GCA
Barton Grange's award-winning Christmas display - image: GCA

Sanders Garden World manager and Garden Centre Group regional manager Peter Burks said:

"Trade was very good. It was good on Christmas and the mild weather kept plant sales going well. Christmas trees were pretty good. We were within one or two per cent of being sold out and quite a few of our stores were completely sold out."

GCA chief executive Gillie Westwood said Christmas was up at the few garden centres that had returned figures so far.

GCG chief executive Nicholas Marshall said: "We had an excellent Christmas and we start the New Year in good heart."

Downtown Garden Centre MD Chris Coward said: "Actual seasonal sales did very well but compared to last year we lost sales on winter fuels, snow shovels and sledges because of the milder weather."

He said Christmas tree sales were 5-6 per cent up.

British Christmas Tree Growers Association secretary Roger Hay said UK-grown Christmas tree sales were likely to be above 2010's 8.2m when figures are fully collated.

Tim Porter, managing director of Hollybush Garden Centre in Wolverhampton, said trade was back on par with 2009 after lower than normal sales figures last year.

"It has been a lot better than 2010 when there was snow on the ground in the two weeks leading up to Christmas. People bought more Christmas stock this year and real Christmas trees."

Staffordshire-based Ashwood Nurseries manager Tony Cartwright said:

"What a difference a year makes. We have had high numbers visiting every day over the past month. Last year was a disaster for us. We are located along a country lane and there was thick ice nearly every day which kept customers away. But this year the car park has been full every day."

Joanne Hawkins-McDowell, manager of Shenstone Garden Centre said: "We have definitely had more footfall. We have also sold a lot more bedding and shrubs as people have been planting more. House plant sales have been strong too."

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