Garden centre sales show dip as half term falls a week later

Garden centre sales dipped last week compared to 2011 because half term fell a week later in most areas this year.

Aquatic sales were level, books were down 15 per cent, Christmas fell 12 per cent, clothing was down 15 per cent, craft was down 25 per cent, food fell 10 per cent, sundries fell 30 per cent, gifts were down 15 per cent, outdoor plants 30 per cent and catering 16 per cent.

Garden Centres Association chairman Peter Burks said: "In most places half term was last week last year and this week this year so most centres were down a smidgen in most regions. Half term is good, in particular in restaurants and it's also from half term when Christmas and giftware takes off. You have to be fully set up by half term because the next holiday is Christmas and that focuses customers' minds."

Meanwhile, in the CBI’s latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey, covering the first two and a half weeks of October, 47 per cent of retailers reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago and 17 per cent stated that sales had fallen. The resulting balance of +30 per cent well exceeded expectations (+15 per cent), and was the fastest rate of sales growth since June (+42 per cent).

Looking ahead, retailers expect growth in sales volumes to be similarly robust in the year to November (+27 per cent).

GfK data on the DIY/garden centre market found overall sales had fallen 3.4 per cent in the 12 months to September 2012. September sales were up 3.2 per cent and online sales were up 23.6 per cent.

Monthly sales figures show August and September both up three per cent, while July was down one per cent, June was down nine per cent and May was down six per cent. April was down 28 per cent.

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