Christmas tree retail prices reach new high

Christmas trees are hitting retail prices of £50 though growers are still only getting the same price or up to £1 more than last year for each tree.

A 2m-high Nordmann fir is reaching the top price "mainly in city centres in affluent areas like Chelsea in London", according to British Christmas Tree Growers' Association secretary Roger Hay. But retailers in more rural areas are also selling high. Treborth Garden Centre in North Wales is pricing the same size trees at £44.

Prices in London are up by 10 to 20 per cent on last year, mainly because most retailers in the South East obtain their trees from abroad and the euro is strong.

The market has been affected in the past decade by growers in Denmark reducing production after losing government subsidies.

Last Christmas British growers were able to sell at high prices and retailers added up to £10 more than 2006 prices for 2m trees. But Hay said: "Growers have generally sold at the same prices as last year, with some putting them up by a maximum of £1."

Many British growers supplement their own home-grown production with extras from abroad. But increasingly firms such as Surrey-based HA Trim are aiming to produce 100 per cent home-grown, which could bring prices down in the future. Hay said: "Though more and more trees are being planted by British growers it will be one or two years before British growers meet the demand."

Scotsdales managing director Caroline Owen said: "Christmas trees are going well. Sales are slightly down on last year but we hope to make it up by Christmas."

Treborth Garden Centre plant manager Jamie Harrison said overall tree sales are "not quite as good as last year" but that trade in the second weekend of December had matched the previous year.


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