Garden centre sales are running well ahead this mild January, compared to January 2013, when returns were hit by very cold weather.
Early indications from figures supplied to Horticulture Week show sales were up around 40 per cent on the week to January 19 compared to the same week in 2013, at what is traditionally the quietest time of the year.
Outdoor plant sales are 80 per cent up in the week to 19 January, while catering sales were up 20 per cent and garden furniture, reduced in sales, quadrupled in value. Clothing was up 15 per cent, books was up five per cent, aquatics was even, houseplants was up 20 per cent, pets were down 10 per cent, gifts were up 15 per cent and craft was up 10 per cent but sundries were down 10 per cent.
Mr Fothergill's Seeds retail marketing manager Ian Cross said: "The season has started quite well because of the milder weather and we're having a reasonable January compared to January 2013."
He said early sales - up to May - were lost in the spring of 2013 and were never wholly clawed back.
Cross said many suppliers were writing off 2013 and looking ahead to a better 2014.