Garden centre sales up eight per cent in December

Garden centre sales for December were 8.45 per cent up on December 2011, according to latest Garden Centre Association figures drawn from 34 outlets around the UK.

Garden centre sales
Garden centre sales

Houseplants were up 4.5 per cent while outdoor plants were down 2.6 per cent and seeds and bulbs were up 1.6 per cent.

Sundries were down 0.5 per cent, furniture and barbecues were up 1.3 per cent, pets and aquatics were up 16.4 per cent, gifts were up 10.3 per cent, and Christmas was up 10.1 per cent. 

Hard landscaping was down 3.9 per cent, clothing was up 4.4 per cent and catering was up 11.6 per cent.

Alton Garden Centre director Andy Bunker said overall sales at the centre were up three per cent on the month. He said: "Christmas has turned the year from being disappointing into satisfactory."

On the high street a combination of retailers focused on protecting their margins and consumers holding out for bargains resulted in a steady but somewhat unspectacular December sales period, found BDO’s December High Street Sales Tracker, which showed overall like-for-like sales up 1.9 per cent year-on-year.

Non-fashion was the strongest sector, with growth of 7.1 per cent thanks to increased sales of Christmas ‘gifting’ items from well-established brands and department stores, and luxury items once discounting started.

But retailers were buoyed by a 30.9 per cent year-on-year growth in non-store online sales.

BDO retail head Don Williams said: "Last year we saw several stores having to slash prices to levels that really hit their profits after getting caught with too much stock," explained Williams.

"This year there has been a clear focus on protecting margins. By building up to Christmas early in a planned and measured way there has been less knee-jerk discounting. At the same time consumers are continuing to feel the pinch of hard economic conditions and are being much more careful about when and where they spend their money."


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