B&Q, Wickes, Homebase and Focus are all downbeat on 2010 prospects, citing electoral and economic uncertainty and poor weather as reasons to be careful.
Kingfisher chief executive Ian Cheshire, speaking to Retail Week, said: "We are not assuming any help from the market. We are very cautious. Gardens are four to six weeks behind. People are holding back. They have not been spending on gardens."
Travis Perkins chief executive Geoff Cooper said: "Forecasting is even more difficult now than it was in 2009, with the prospect of an election which is getting ever harder to call."
Homebase MD Paul Loft said: "It is very difficult to call-fuel bills are coming in, there is debt from Christmas, a change in government, taxes going up, VAT possibly going up and unemployment."
Focus chief executive Bill Grimsey said: "Since the snow left temperatures have been very low. The gardening season has not kicked off-the grass has barely started to shoot."