Christmas sales dive by 6%

Christmas sales in garden centres were down by up to 6% compared to 2007, early indications from GCA figures show.

GCA chief executive Gillie Westwood said the figures, collated from 18 garden centres, did not yet paint a full picture but added: "There will be winners and losers after this Christmas."

Garden centres are set to be around 2% down on 2007 for the full year of 2008. One Dumfries owner said: "It's not as bad as it could have been."

Bigger centres look to have been hardest hit in the whole of 2008, with centres over £4 million down 5% on 2007. Centres turning over £2 million-£4 million are flat, while centres below £2 million are 1.5% down.

Furniture, barbecues and hard landscaping were hardest hit. Gifts and catering did best, but gifts suffered this Christmas at many centres.

The GCA conference runs on January 25-28. Westwood is set to announce a surprise star guest this week.


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