Garden centre sales up 7% in December

Latest figures from the Garden Centre Association (GCA) show an almost 7% increase in sales for December, leaving the year in positive territory.

Top categories were restaurants, farm shops and outdoor plants, which were up 17.73% compared to the previous year.

Houseplant sales were up 8.12% and seed and bulb sales were up 3.64%.

Sales in garden sundries were up 5.83% and hard landscaping sales were up 12.21%.

Food hall and farm shop sales were up 9.9%, clothing was up 4.44% and catering sales were up 11%.

Furniture and barbecue sales were down -8.93% and sales in pets and aquatics were down -2.36%.

Christmas sales were up 6.54%. Gift sales were also up 2.39% compared to the previous year.

Overall sales for the month were up 6.8% with a year to date change of 1.27%.

GCA chief executive Iain Wylie said: "In a month where Christmas and gift sales tend to dominate the categories, it was really interesting to see that outdoor plant sales came out on top instead.

"Of course, it was all down to the Great British weather as we enjoyed a much milder festive season than usual, so people were able to spend longer sorting out their plots and preparing for the new season.

Data from Barclaycard which sees nearly half of the nation's credit and debit card transactions showed spending in garden centres was up 3.2%.

Overall GCA garden retail sales for the month of November were up 1.13% with a year to date change of 1.19%.

Barclaycard garden centre figures for 2018 show November was up 2%, October 7.2%, September up 4%, August 0.5%, July up 8.1%, June was up 10.5%, May was 23.8% up, April down 18.2% and March down 26.4%.

Garden Centre Association figures follow a fairly similar pattern, being up 1-2% overall by the end of the year.

The sector outperformed the High Street in 2018.

Matthew Appleby

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