Garden centre sales up last week but bank holiday "forgettable"

Garden centre sales from 20-26 August, which include most of the bank holiday weekend, show sales are about six per cent up overall on 2011.

Garden centre sales
Garden centre sales

But bank holiday sales were unremarkable as retailers suffered in the rain and began to look ahead to Christmas.

Garden furniture sales benefitted from promotions and as the weather picked up early in the week.

For the seven days, aquatics were 20 per cent up, books 12 per cent down, clothing flat, craft 20 per cent down, food 10 per cent up, garden furniture 75 per cent up, sundries five per cent up, gifts flat, houseplants flat, outdoor plants 12 per cent up, pets flat and catering two per cent up.

Compost, bulbs, and garden lights sold better and even water butts sold as the weather picked up. Autumn baskets, six pack pansies, one litre alpines, spring veg packs, cyclamen, hebe and phlox all sold well.

Poplars garden centre MD David Little said: "I can’t say the bank holiday was tremendously busy but it was nice to see a few customers. But this is definitely a season to forget. It’s just not happened. Christmas is coming in soon and that is going to be interesting and tell you what you’re about. The weather has been a big factor this year but the economy has been more than we might think so Christmas might be not so strong. We still push autumn quite hard too but I just don’t think people have been gardening this year. It’s been a great growing year but a terrible gardening year."

Garden Centre Group regional manager Peter Burks said the bank holiday weekend was "not too bad" with southern and eastern centres doing better than rain-hit northern and western ones. Bank holiday Monday was poor apart from catering, he added.

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