Garden centre plant sales up again as optimism rises

The week ending 23 September saw another slightly up sales week in garden centres, following the steady trend this September has brought.

Aquatics sales were up 24 per cent, books were flat, Christmas was 30 per cent down, clothing was 11 per cent up, craft was five per cent down, food was four per cent up,  furniture was 10 per cent up,

Sundries were flat, gifts were two per cent up, houseplants were three per cent down, machinery was 20 per cent up, outdoor plants were seven per cent up, pets were flat and catering was the per cent up.

Bulbs, including garlic sales, started to take off, while compost, solar lights and wild bird food sold well.

Chrysanthemum mix 15cm sales did best, with cyclmen mini 10.5cm sales more than 20 per cent up and autumn tub and basket plant sales up by a similar amount.

Alpines did well but autumn veg packs were 20 per cent down and autumn bedding packs all suffered in comparison to 2011.

The Markit Household Finance Index's latest reading of 38.4 was one of the highest in the past two years, and households reported a reduced squeeze on their savings and cash available to spend, survey compiler Markit said.

September's survey suggests that the gradual easing of pressure on real incomes so far in 2012 continues to support household finances," said Markit economist Tim Moore.

Forty per cent of those surveyed anticipated a worsening in their finances in the next 12 months, while 29 per cent expected an improvement - making it the least downbeat financial outlook since March 2010.

"However, households appear to have become more concerned about the inflation outlook, with cost of living expectations rising sharply since August," Moore said.

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